Uber, Maryland Battling Over Carrier Permit

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(Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

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BALTIMORE — Maryland’s Public Service Commission on Thursday ordered a company that links people seeking rides with freelance drivers to apply to operate as a for-hire carrier.

But an official with Uber Technologies said Friday that the service, which has been operating in Maryland since January 2013, is not a transportation company and will appeal the ruling.

Chief Public Utility Law Judge Terry J. Romine said in the 54-page ruling that Uber is a common carrier subject to PSC regulation. She said Uber has 60 days to apply for a motor carrier permit.

Uber, which is based in San Francisco, is one of several ride-sharing companies that useWeb-based applications to link passengers and drivers.

Romine said Uber must abide by the PSC’s regulations governing passenger-for-hire services. She wrote, “Uber exerts control over the entire transportation service ‘experience’ it provides to its Users.”

Rachel Holt, Uber East Coast regional general manager, said Uber is a technology company, not a transportation company. She said the PCS ruling is the first time any jurisdiction in the more than 100 cities in which Uber operates has found it to be a transportation company.

“We’re really disappointed that the PSC chose to take that direction,” she said Friday. She said it’s equivalent to saying Orbitz, an online travel booking company, is an airline.

Holt said Uber drivers have provided tens of thousands of rides in Maryland and the company plans to continue operating in the state.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)</em

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