After a long struggle, Uber and Lyft can now legally operate in Nevada, but that doesn't mean all bets are off just yet. There are still restrictions the ridesharing companies will have to work through if they want to offer all of their services in the state that has stuck out for its resistence to the startups.
The Nevada Transportation Authority on Monday approved operation of both companies in the state. Standing in the way of unrestricted operation throughout the state are lingering restrictions at airports and in some municipalities, plus state regulations for livery vehicles that narrow the types of services the ridesharing companies can offer.
Here’s a rundown of some hurdles the companies still face:
- It’s still illegal for Uber or Lyft to operate in Clark County, of which Las Vegas is the county seat, without a business license, and the county still has to create a license category for ridesharing companies, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
- Airports in Nevada do not allow pickups at this time, though drop offs are allowed, according to Uber spokeswoman Eva Behrend.
- State law requires livery services wait up to one hour for scheduled riders and charge by the hour as opposed to the mile – rules incompatible with the nature of a ridesharing app, according to Behrend.
Hurdles aside, both apps companies plan to operate ASAP. Lyft hopes to reach an agreement with Clark County and start operating within the week, according to Lyft spokeswoman Chelsea Wilson. Uber plans to get on the road within the next month, says Behrend. So, there may be time for Lyft to get the upper hand in a city known for turning small advantages into big payoffs.
Behrend says Uber first plans to operate in the Reno and Las Vegas areas and will only be operating UberX at first – no UberPool, or luxury option Uber BLACK yet. Uber may in the future push for changes to livery service parameters in Nevada to make it possible for BLACK to operate.
Both companies have said they have about 1,000 drivers ready to start work and Behrend says thousands of riders used the Uber app when it operated in the state in October 2014.
Monday’s approvals follow controversies over the apps in the last year in the Reno and Las Vegas areas. A district court in Washoe County, of which Reno is the county seat, in November 2014 issued an injunction against Uber that prevented statewide operations of the company. In May, Las Vegas taxi drivers held a protest in which they parked their cars and held signs with anti-Uber messages.