PSC, Uber reach agreement for sedan, SUV services in Maryland

The popular ride-hailing company Uber Technologies has reached an agreement with state regulators to continue operating its sedan and SUV services in Maryland.

The deal, approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission on Thursday, does not apply to Uber's other services in the state, including its popular UberX platform, which remains the subject of regulatory review.


Under the terms of the agreement, Uber's local subsidiary Drinnen LLC will be treated by the PSC as a so-called common carrier — like other sedan and limousine services in the state. As such, the company will apply for a motor-carrier permit and supply the PSC with a list of its drivers' names.

The drivers of the sedans and SUVs must have "Commission-issued operating permits and fully insured Commission-inspected vehicles," the PSC said.


The company also will file a "schedule of its times, rates and charges" with the PSC, which "may include maximum and minimum rates and surge pricing," the PSC said.

Those schedules will have to be posted online, the PSC said.

Uber, in a statement, noted the settlement's limited scope covering its UberBLACK service, which includes sedans and SUVs.

"While today's action only addresses one part of our business — UberBLACK — it doesn't change the fact that Maryland still needs to modernize its transportation laws to ensure the PSC isn't forced to regulate Uber with 20th century transportation rules," the company said. "We urge the state legislature to follow the lead of D.C., Virginia, and the numerous other jurisdictions across the country that have enacted sensible ridesharing laws that embrace Uber's innovative business model."

Uber has faced varying levels of opposition in Maryland and local jurisdictions since first launching in the state, in Baltimore, in 2013. Competitors contend the company created an unfair market by refusing to comply with regulations that traditional taxi and sedan companies have to follow.

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Uber contends it is a technology company that connects users of its mobile application with rides.

Representatives of Yellow Cab, which operates the most cabs in Baltimore, criticized the sedan and SUV agreement and Uber for not answering questions about its relationship with Drinnen.

The PSC said it determined the agreement was in the public's best interest.


Last week, the staff of the PSC also proposed a new regulatory structure that would govern Uber's other services in the state, including UberX.

A rulemaking session on those suggestions has been scheduled for March 20.