Uber and Lyft now have permanent legal status in Virginia.
Uber and Lyft had vowed to continue operating in the commonwealth and after escalating tension, McAuliffe and Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced last summer a temporary deal that allowed the companies to continue operating in the state. That agreement was a temporary solution until lawmakers developed the more comprehensive legislation.
“Virginia is leading the way on attracting and supporting innovative companies in every sector of our economy,” McAuliffe said in a statement.
Virginia officials say the reached compromise ensures the safety of passengers, and promotes a level playing field for transportation providers, while it addresses the concerns of the services’ impact on the taxi industry. The legislation also is seen as good news for the industry and its growing consumer base that prefers the app-based services to traditional taxis.
“Virginia has taken a stand for innovation and consumer choice,” Uber spokesman Taylor Bennett said in a statement. “We’re excited to make the Commonwealth a permanent home and look forward to continuing to provide access to safe rides and job opportunities to thousands of Virginians.”
Herring said other states grappling with regulating the growing industry should look up to Virginia “where we have found a balance between safety, passenger protection, and innovation.”
“This law will strengthen our economy, give consumers more transportation options, and further cement Virginia’s reputation as a national leader for pro-business policies and reasonable regulation,” he said.
Uber, Lyft and other car services have ignited tension across the United States in recent years. Cabbies, in particular, have complained about ride-share drivers having an unfair advantage because they don’t face the same licensing and permitting requirements as cab drivers. This has prompted policymakers across the country to find ways to regulate the new services.