Who Should Inspect Lyft, Uber Cars?

by Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle

uber lyft sidecar vehicle

Colin@TheTruthAbout / Wikimedia Commons

UberX and Lyft have blurred the lines between personal cars and taxis. Now they are trying to blur the line between drivers and mechanics.

California regulators require that personal vehicles driven for ride-hailing services be inspected before drivers start taking paid rides and annually thereafter. The state issues a checklist of 19 items from brakes to seat belts that must be examined, and says the companies or authorized third-party mechanics should perform the inspections.

Lyft’s solution: tasking its experienced drivers, called driver mentors, with performing initial inspections for new drivers.

Now Uber, which does all its inspections through third-party mechanics, wants regulators to clarify if it, too, can use a “driver peer-inspection program.” Doing so would save time and money, because Uber picks up the tab for third-party inspections at its support centers.

Uber wrote to the California Public Utilities Commission in late December, asking whether its drivers, who are not certified mechanics, can legally conduct inspections just like its competitors. The PUC said it is still formulating a response.

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