Ridesharing company Uber gains ground in Las Vegas courtroom

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 30, 2014 12:13 AM

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - The ridesharing company Uber gained ground in Las Vegas Wednesday when a District Court judge ruled against a restraining order that would have temporarily prohibited it from operating in Clark County, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Taxi drivers around the world have urged lawmakers to regulate or ban such services, which allow users to use apps on their smartphones to hire a private driver, rather than calling a taxi company.

The office of Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto had asked a judge to prohibit the service in Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, as judges in other parts of the state have already done, the newspaper said.

But District Judge Douglas Herndon refused to grant the order, the newspaper reported.

Herndon said the Attorney General's office did not provide adequate evidence that Uber's presence in Nevada will cause any lasting damage, and that he supported competition between Uber and Las Vegas taxi companies, the newspaper reported.

In its push to operate legally in Vegas, Uber launched an online petition to encourage Governor Brian Sandoval and Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto to stand against the "Big Taxi Cartel," and is promoting the #NVneedsUber hashtag on Twitter.

The state's battle to shut down the service is far from over, however. Herndon will hear arguments for and against a preliminary injunction sought by the Attorney General's Office on Nov. 14, the newspaper said.

Companies such as Lyft, Sidecar and UberX, which is a part of black-car service Uber, allow passengers to summon paid rides using apps on their smartphones and have gained in popularity in dozens of U.S. cities over the past few years.

But they face opposition from taxi companies that argue the upstarts do not face the same stringent regulations as do traditional cabs, and insurance companies want ridesharing drivers to carry more expensive insurance policies.

Last month, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law requiring the companies to carry insurance.

(Reporting by Alexia Schurmur in Las Vegas; Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Robert Birsel)