As rideshare companies Lyft and Uber continue their legal battle with the state of California regarding employee classification, the turmoil is having an impact on those who utilize rideshare services.
According to Voice of OC, Orange County transportation officials got rid of the underutilized public bus service in San Clemente. They replaced the public service with private rideshare app services like Lyft. With Uber and Lyft threatening to shut down in California on August 20, those in the San Clemente area were concerned about how they would get around.
While the Orange County Transportation Authority tried to balance the elimination of two bus routes with low ridership in 2016, it was ultimately decided to subsidize Lyft for its services around town so residents who relied on the bus routes would still have access to transportation.
According to Peter Garcia, a member of the Santa Ana Active Streets Coalition, passengers almost being stranded is just one of the consequences associated with outsourcing transportation: “An issues with transit agencies substituting traditional fixed route bus service with Uber and Lyft is, we don’t know how long these companies are going to keep going.” The uncertainties associated with the private sector affects the transit agencies that depend on the rideshare services, as well as the passengers who depend on them.
In an effort to reduce potential issues associated with private rideshare companies, the Orange County Transportation Authority is working on developing its own rideshare pilot program. OC Flex mimics rideshare services, but it’s in-house. While it is still in its pilot phase, the program is operating in Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Huntington Beach, and Westminster.
Lyft responded to Voice of OC’s request for comments with the following statement: “These partnerships—with agencies like Metrolink, OCTA, and the City of San Clemente—are closing first/last-mile gaps, improving late-night mobility for second and third-shift workers, and lifting up communities that have historically faced significant barriers to access. By partnering with Lyft, these public agencies are able to provide the benefits of microtransit along with the convenience of on-demand transportation, with reduced overall administrative effort and costs.”
To learn more about the employee classification legal battle between Uber and Lyft and the state of California, visit our blog. In the event you have a legal question regarding a rideshare accident or incident, schedule a case evaluation with the Rideshare Law Group. We’ll evaluate your situation and provide you with sound legal advice on how best to move forward.