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New Regulations Could Drive ‘Uber’ Out Of Maryland

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McCorkel Meghan 370x278 (2) Meghan McCorkell
Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — New regulations could drive Uber out of Maryland. The popular car service is battling back, appealing the new rules. But state officials say there needs to be more oversight.

Meghan McCorkell has reaction to the latest ruling.

The Maryland Public Service Commission has labeled Uber a common carrier. It’s a move the company says could make it impossible for them to operate here in Maryland.

It’s rapidly become one of the top ways people get around both Baltimore and Annapolis. Billed as transportation on demand, Uber’s cell phone app allows users to request a car and pick them up with the click of a button.

“You just hit a destination and request a quote,” said one Uber user.

But this week, the Maryland Public Service Commission has ordered staff to create new regulations for the “For Hire” company.

“It would really make sure Uber’s operation near impossible in the state. We don’t hire, drivers own those vehicles. We partner with existing transportation companies,” said Uber spokesperson Taylor Bennet.

Uber argues they deal in technology, not transportation.

“It’s kind of equivalent of calling Expedia or Orbitz an airline company simply because they connect customers with those airlines,” said Bennet.

Uber operates in dozens of cities and has faced legal opposition in multiple states.

Just this week, officials in Virginia reached a new deal to allow Uber to keep operating in that state. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley says the Public Service Commission is trying to adjust regulations to accommodate the new technology.

“I hope that we’ll work it out with sound policies that allow Uber to stay and people that are getting rides to be protected,” said O’Malley.

So Uber won’t have to put on the brakes in Maryland. The Public Service Commission has given Uber 60 days to apply for a motor carrier permit.

Uber will file an appeal with The Public Service Commission. The company plans to continue daily operations.

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