Uber launches public lobbying effort to keep operating in Va.

WASHINGTON – A day after being told to park its cars, Uber urged its riders to contact Virginia state officials in support of the mobile-based car service.

In an email to users, Uber urges riders to tweet, email or call Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Attorney General Mark Herring or the Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Richard Holcomb to them that riders need the service and the state needs its business.

Uber argues its drivers and cars are safer than the typical taxi because it provides more insurance coverage than required under state taxi rules and that all drivers undergo a background check.

The company provided users with the emails, phone numbers and suggested Twitter language so its customers could share their support.

Thursday, the DMV ordered both Uber and Lyft to stop offering rides in Virginia, saying both had already been penalized for operating illegally.

The DMV urged riders to choose from registered, insured taxi and limo services and encouraged the companies to work on a study reviewing the state’s existing transportation service laws.

Both Uber and Lyft say they will continue operating despite the cease and desist orders.

The Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association, an industry trade group, called Uber “arrogant” for ignoring Virginia law.

“Until Uber puts in place full-time, primary commercial automobile liability insurance coverage on every one of its drivers’ vehicles, and until they properly fingerprint and background check their drivers through police or FBI databases, they should not be allowed to transport the public,” the association said in statement. “The only one keeping Uber out of Virginia is Uber itself, which refuses to comply with the laws governing transportation.”

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