California DMV Director Jean Shiomoto retracted Vehicle Industry News alert VIN 2015-01 on Friday night, which affected ride hailing operators like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. Specifically, the now defunct alert claimed that "Any passenger vehicle used or maintained for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit is a commercial vehicle...Even occasional use of a vehicle in this manner requires the vehicle to be registered commercially."
SFist covered that here, and it was quickly seen as a strong stand against deregulation in a fast-moving industry. But, once widely publicized, it was not to last arguably the latest example of Uber's growing power in influencing government agencies to get their way, or maybe someone at the DMV didn't get the memo that Uber isn't like most taxi companies until they got an earful from Travis Kalanick all day Friday. Here, the DMVs new statement:
“Our responsibility is to notify the public of existing state law. In response to inquiries, the department issued an alert earlier this month that reflected the definition of a commercial vehicle under a 1935 law. However, there remains uncertainty about the interaction and effect of this law governing vehicle registration requirements with the more recent regulatory and statutory changes affecting ride share operators. We jumped the gun, and we shouldn’t have. The matter requires further review and analysis which the department is undertaking immediately.”
A representative from Uber was quick to email SFist with the update. The DMV says it will be meeting in coming days with regulators and industry leaders to "continue working through this issue."