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taxi wars

Banned in Virginia, Uber vows to keep driving

Banned in Virginia, Uber vows to keep driving

As an unabashed booster of Uber, the smart phone app that connects you with a driver "at the click of a button," and a resident of Virginia, the following news caught my attention:

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles sent cease-and-desist orders Thursday to Lyft and Uber, telling the two taxi-like services they must stop operating in violation of state law or face fines against their drivers...

The order signaled that state officials' patience had worn thin with Lyft and Uber, each of which continues to provide service in Hampton Roads after being fined this spring. It also showed a shift in tactics: Rather than fining only the companies again, the DMV is now threatening civil penalties that could reach as high as $1,000 per violation against the drivers themselves. [Virginia-Pilot]

Despite the cease-and-desist order, Uber today emailed Virginia customers telling them that "Uber will operate as usual, and we plan to continue full-speed ahead with our commitment to providing Virginians access to safe, affordable and reliable rides."

For more on why this is an egregious example of government regulations crowding out innovation, see my talk with the co-producer of the documentary Uber Wars — and my interview with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) after his recent visit to Uber's D.C. offices.