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Uber Status In SB
updated: Jul 21, 2014, 8:45 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

What is the official, legal status of Uber in Santa Barbara?

Does anyone know what the law is specifically? Or will it be kind of a gray area, as airbnb.com is.

This article I received relates to how in Denver, at least, there seems ambiguity on the law.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 537441 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-21 09:04 AM

Do you mean the article by the geologist who was stopped on his way to the Denver airport and offered a "free ride" by the police?

If so, that was quite interesting, wasn't it?


 COMMENT 537442 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-21 09:05 AM

We are living in a time of much legal ambiguity.


 COMMENT 537443 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-21 09:07 AM

Ask a lawyer or a judge.


 COMMENT 537446P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-21 09:19 AM

OP here, yes, was referring to the Uber stopped on the way to the Denver airport. Is there anything in local laws that affect Uber drivers and riders?


 COMMENT 537449 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-21 09:27 AM

Sounds like the Denver cop was just harassing the Uber driver and passenger. I hope they got his badge number and reported the offense. Uber is 100% legal in both Colorado and California.


 COMMENT 537451 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-21 09:30 AM

The Denver story was pretty clearly an officer over reaching, he didn't ticket the Uber driver for anything other than speeding. Officers often spout made up laws, if they don't write you a ticket take it with a grain of salt.
There have been no rulings locally for or against Uber.
There is no law specifically banning them.


 COMMENT 537475 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-21 10:03 AM

I think that Uber is basically insurance and business fraud. It would be difficult to prove, but essentially people are paying only for private personal car insurance, while they are essentially operating a commercial business with the under-insurred car. Also, they are not paying for the fees and licenses or submitting themselves to the prophylactic background screening that taxi drivers are subject to. Of course, more than half of our local taxis are driven by obviously illegal nationals, or so it would seem.


 COMMENT 537479 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-21 10:08 AM

How do you know for sure it's legal? Uber is a serious issue! It is a company that doesn't play by the same set of rules that everyone else plays on. would you go to a restaurant that didn't need to follow the same health code laws?


 COMMENT 537483 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-21 10:16 AM

I don't know if Uber is legal or not, but I do know that I feel much safer with an Uber driver than one of the taxi cabs in town. (Also in San Fran and other cities I have used Uber). Some of those taxi drives are very creepy and I would never get in a car with them. With Uber, the cars are clean and the driver's are safe - not rushing to the next call just to cover their cab rental costs. POSTER 479: How many kitchens have you seen for local restaurants? Many are ticketed for violations. I worked in the health field and can tell you a lot would not pass a health code check.


 COMMENT 537486 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-21 10:20 AM

Good article... it definitely pointed out that the "professionals" hired to protect and serve are just people and many can't put aside their personal biases when acting in an official capacity. I find it common among state troopers who are the first responders to awful crashes involving mangled machinery with human bodies inside them and in their overprotectiveness exceed their authority.


 COMMENT 537491 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-21 10:26 AM

This might seem like a stupid question, but what is an "uber" ? Sounds like a taxi service....?


 COMMENT 537499P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-21 10:37 AM

On another post, someone mentioned that the sport of government bashing was getting out of control. It's government that's out of control.

The insane amount of over-regulation of everything is killing our innovation, productivity, and responsibility. If someone feels comfortable riding with someone elese who has time and a car to spare, and needs to pick up a bit of additional income, then leave them alone. They are playing by a different set of rules than cabs, but I don't want the government regulating every transaction and agreement between me and another consenting adult.

Yes to Uber, VRBO, low impact home based businesses, etc... and "drop dead" to taxing, licensing, and regulating every aspect of our lives. Government has degraded itself to the business of selling us permits to live our lives.


 COMMENT 537502 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-21 10:39 AM

@491- Uber is an app you can download on your smartphone that dispatches a "taxi" (someone driving their personal vehicle) I've used Uber several times and a driver always arrives in under 5 minutes, with a clean car and they speak perfect English. Sorry but there are some pretty crumby cab companies in Santa Barbara, and I much prefer the service of Uber.


 COMMENT 537509 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-21 10:50 AM

475 - Either you are uninformed or just lying. All rides on the Uber platform are backed by a corporate commercial insurance policy. Their best-in-class coverage of $1,000,000 provides coverage from the time a driver has accepted a trip to the moment a rider is dropped off.


 COMMENT 537515P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-21 11:05 AM

499P - yep, so much regulation that China with far fewer regulations, is spending hours trying to steal US innovation. Please, pull the other leg.

Yep, the regulation is so bad, that people from all over the world want to move here.

In a Democracy, laws are passed that are not always good. Note the laws that are trying to make voting difficult, when it should be mandatory.

It takes citizen involvement to steer government in the right direction - but for now, the US is probably doing better than most (not all).


 COMMENT 537533 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-21 11:50 AM

Thanks 509 - that is good to know. I knew they were covered, but had no idea a $1,000,000 policy. Gives me even more confidence using Uber vs a Taxi service.


 COMMENT 537572 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-21 01:12 PM

Competition is good for consumers and can only be good for the community as a whole. A taxi ride from DT SB to Goleta runs $60.00 at $4.00 per mile, yet with all the various taxi companies here in town, there isn't much variation in per mile rates. In other cities, fares are half of what we pay here.


 COMMENT 537597 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-21 01:44 PM

Uber is WONDERFUL! On time, neat, clean, friendly and so darn reasonable! Can't imagine going any other way. You meet some interesting people as drivers as well, especially down in LA! Love it!


 COMMENT 537620 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-21 02:46 PM

@499P...Right on! I agree completely!


 COMMENT 537767 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-21 08:25 PM

I'd like to Uber everything!
No need for unions and hyper- efficient economically.
Taxes, licenses , fees....let us decide...can anyone remember freedom???


 COMMENT 537849 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 08:14 AM

@767 it's all the Obama voters who are looking to side-step their share of taxes and freedom. I know quite a few people who have the IRS like a dark cloud over their heads everyday. Taxi's are expensive but they have licenses that they have to pay for and all sorts of fees to pay. Also, these trendy pop-up restaurants=hidden events with no tracking, no taxes, =less food stamps for your babies. I don't mind all these things if EVERYONE could work under-the-table. ...and Justice for all. Not just for "some".


 COMMENT 537853 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 08:26 AM

@509 and 533, that's not completely correct. Look up the story about the Bay Area uber driver that killed someone in a fatal accident. Uber ain't doing a thing on that, and the driver's personal insurance dropped them because they were operating a commercial vehicle... Uber is shady....

@767, yeah, good call. That $15 for a taxi license from the county is soooooo out of hand. Fight the power! Deregulate everything! No drivers licenses should be needed, let alone business licenses! No more nuke power regulatory commission! Those taxi drivers need to create a union so we can rail against it! No more taxes for fire trucks or ambulances! Everyone just go do whatever!!!!


 COMMENT 537861 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 08:42 AM

Uber is not a taxi company. Uber is a website that pairs drivers with passengers. If there are legal issues with someone picking you up and dropping you off, then your friends, or husband or wife, or any co-worker would have to abide by the same standard.

"By signing up, I agree to the Privacy Policy and understand that Uber is a request tool, not a transportation carrier."


 COMMENT 537879P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 09:30 AM

Thanks (I think), this explains UBER. From reading different stories and I do agree with what someone posted about our local taxis. NOT friendly at all! Some are too busy talking on their cells while driving. I always thank god for arriving safely.


 COMMENT 537881 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 09:35 AM

I LOVE UBER and I won't take any more local cabs. I feel SO much safer in uber. The cab drivers around here are so shady! There are a whole bunch of them that line up all day around the train station and throw trash out onto Montecito st. They are awful. They vandalized a local business there when the business owner asked them not to throw the trash.


 COMMENT 537883 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 09:38 AM

Technology has/is changing the way people live and consumer habits. If industries cannot not adapt to technology and the market they will become extinct.


 COMMENT 537919 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 10:32 AM

The issue is tricky because common carriers are often regulated by the federal, state and local governments. Granted many of the regulations are unnecessary and just a means to tax or collect fees for these agencies. Others are wise regulations requiring backround checks including drivers licenses and the proper kinds of insurance. Many private insurance policies exclude liability or coverage under the policy if the use is deemed by the company to be "commercial". This is ultimately a civil issue in the event of some kind of accident or damages occurring, not necessarily criminal if no law is being broken. In the story it sounds like the police were being pressured to "crack down" on the uber drivers probably by the taxi industry and the local government not able to collect their "fees". The excessive "investigation" by the officer was likely a result of that local pressure.


 COMMENT 537962 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 11:09 AM

I agree that Uber, in theory, is probably a good idea. So was hitchhiking, put your thumb out and someone picks you up. But if Taxi drivers have to go through all kinds of legal responsibilities in order to carry passengers then so ought Uber drivers. There are financial gains and where there are financial gains there are taxes. Are Uber drivers paying taxes on their gains? I'd bet the first time, if I understand correctly that Uber is monitoring the financial exchange but I also suspect that after the first few rides the communication side steps Uber and makes a private connection for regular rides and under-the-table financial exchanges. That said, I do agree that taxi's are quite expensive from my part of town. $75 for round-trip downtown and that pretty much takes up my Saturday night budget.


 COMMENT 537971 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 11:19 AM

Anyone who takes a cab more than once a month and has used both local cabs and uber will have nothing but positive things to say about uber. anyone who is saying bad things about uber has obviously just been reading too many stories on the internet and not used any type of transportation in months. Every uber car ive been in smells great and the drivers are talkative and friendly, whereas most cabs smell like puke, the driver is rude, or just doesn't speak english. Cabs are also very expensive and unreliable, not to mention they love to take you on the longest way home they can find. I also feel that cabs speed everywhere they go and drive much more erratic than any uber driver ive ever dealt with.


 COMMENT 537978 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 11:25 AM

I will never take a cab home from the airport again. Super expensive, went to the Eastside by way of Montecito, ran several stop signs, missed my house by one and wouldn't go back.

Midnight, pouring rain, woman alone with luggage. No more cabs.


 COMMENT 538105 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 03:01 PM

853, I believe that driver was on the way to pick someone up, and so there was some question about whether the company was liable for the death if the driver had not yet picked up the passenger. Recent laws have now clarified that issue so that the company's insurance covers the driver if he has accepted a pickup.

I know California seems over-regulated, but the regulations were put in place for a reason because a business shafted someone somehow. If all businesses were run properly, we could get rid of regulations. Will that happen? I don't think so.


 COMMENT 538141 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-22 04:08 PM

I prefer Lyft over Uber.


 COMMENT 538785 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 09:52 AM

I was driving home from the airport when it was under construction and when I started to pull out to turn left onto Fairview an airport police car was approaching rapidly from the right so I had to stop immediately. The taxi behind me was trying to pull out and make the left turn right along with me and rear ended me. The driver, who barely spoke English with an accent and appeared to be Middle-Eastern wanted to make a deal to "fix" my car for me at a place he knew so that it did not get reported to the insurance company. I was disinclined to do that particularly when he identified the name of his company as "The Fly By Night" cab company. You cannot make this stuff up.


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