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CA Becomes First State to Allow Anyone to Use Cars as Cabs

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It took about a century, but Capitalism has finally nailed down a workaround to all those pesky labor laws: there's apps for that! Yesterday California became the first state in the US to authorize and regulate "car-sharing" services like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar--they enable anyone still rich enough to own a car to hook up with drunk people in search of a ride, charge a "donation," and then hand over a percentage to the app company. Which makes the services cheaper for riders than cabs (since the taxi industry is screwed up in a different way). The Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved rules that mandate ride services "apply for a permit and comply with safety requirements such as driver background checks, vehicle inspections and insurance coverage," according to the LA Times. One analyst "who follows the sharing economy" tells the paper the move represents "a huge shift to the economy ... It's really simple: It means the crowd is becoming the company." With car-sharing, the "crowd," also known as human beings, is responsible for car insurance, maintenance, and other stuff "the company" usually provides, like health insurance and time off. Empowering! On the plus side, these app services "could lead to less traffic, fewer car loans, lower auto sales and less crowded parking lots."
· PUC gives a nod to Uber, Lyft, other ride-sharing services [LAT]
· New Rules Would Let Uber and Lyft Ridesharing Roam Free [Curbed LA]