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Governor Okays Ridesharing

Governor Okays Ridesharing

Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft will now be able to operate legally in New Mexico. Gov. Susana Martinez signed a bill that gives the state Public Regulation Commission the authority to regulate transportation network companies.

Ridesharing a Go in New Mexico

BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI

Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft will now be able to operate legally in New Mexico.

Gov. Susana Martinez on Wednesday signed a bill that gives the state Public Regulation Commission the authority to regulate ridesharing services, which are now called transportation network companies.

The new law requires ridesharing services and their drivers to have certain amounts of vehicle insurance, and it requires the companies to do background checks on their drivers. The bill also forbids ridesharing drivers from accepting cash from their customers and from picking up people who are attempting to flag down a cab.

The law will take effect July 1.

Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela said the law shows that New Mexico is open to innovation.

“Anytime we open the door to innovation and new ideas, our state wins,” Barela said. “By embracing ridesharing, we are sending a message that New Mexico is open for business because it shows that we will not allow red tape to get in the way of innovation. Signing this bill will ensure that high-tech companies give our state another look, and help us grow a 21st century workforce.”

Martinez’s action ends a two-year battle over whether ridesharing companies can operate in the state. Both Uber and Lyft entered the state in 2014. But there were no regulations on the books on how the PRC could regulate them. Taxi companies protested that they themselves were heavily regulated and the ridesharing firms were getting a pass. The PRC tried last year to fashion regulations for the ridesharing firms.

Lyft left New Mexico last year after failing to get the PRC to approve regulations it wanted.

There’s no word on whether Lyft will return to the state now that the regulation issue is settled.

Dennis Domrzalski is news editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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