SANTA FE, N.M. — Some of the new rules that state regulators approved on Wednesday to help ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft operate legally in New Mexico could in reality lead to more conflicts with those companies.
The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission voted 4-1 to approve amendments to the Motor Carrier Act to allow transportation network companies — or ride-booking companies — to operate as “specialized passenger services” that operate under rules different from those for taxis.
Unlike taxis, which offer commercial transportation services with company-owned cars and pre-established tariffs, the ride-booking companies say they simply provide mobile apps so drivers with cars can connect with people seeking rides. The companies own no vehicles, employ no drivers and don’t transport passengers, leading Uber and Lyft to reject the state’s Motor Carrier Act as inapplicable to them. Consequently, both companies have functioned without operating permits since last spring.
On Wednesday, however, the PRC declared in a unanimous vote that it does have authority to regulate the services under the Motor Carrier Act. Four of the five commissioners went on to approve new, special rules.