WASHINGTON — Fresh off a row with Virginia, Uber has warned customers in Maryland that possible regulations would dramatically alter service in the Free State.
At issue is name calling, effectively.
The Maryland Public Service Commission will decide an appropriate category for the car service. Listing it as a “common carrier” would subject it to regulations Uber calls “antiquated.”
“We would then be regulated in a way that would make it nearly impossible for Uber to operate the way we are operating now,” says Taylor Bennett, a spokesman.
Uber doesn’t own vehicles or hire drivers. Instead, it partners with independent contractors to provide rides for customers.
It is that dynamic that Uber believes is threatened in Maryland. The car service has emailed customers announcing the yet-to-be-decided order would cut jobs for drivers and travel options for passengers.
“Categorizing Uber as a transportation company takes that ownership away from our driver partners,” Bennett says.
Uber says the designation as a “common carrier” would essentially strip the ability to partner with drivers as contractors.
“The regulations just wouldn’t make it feasible for our business model at the moment, given we’re a technology company,” Bennett says.