High-End, On-Demand Car Service Company Gets Sued

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Last month, Uber began to offer UberX in Columbus, a less expensive option than its black car service. But city officials have sued UberX, citing unlicensed drivers and vehicles.(Photo: Uber)
Last month, Uber began to offer UberX in Columbus, a less expensive option than its black car service. But city officials have sued UberX, citing unlicensed drivers and vehicles.(Photo: Uber)

The city of Columbus has filed a lawsuit suit against an upscale car service that recently began to operate in the area. WOSU reports the city wants a judge to grant a temporary restraining order against a branch of Uber to keep it from operating in the city.

Uber, which markets itself as a high-end, on-demand car service, has a livery service in Columbus, UberBlack. It was in talks with the city about offering its cheaper alternative, UberX. The city said until negotiations were sorted out, UberX was not supposed to charge for rides. Accepting fares would make the cars “vehicles for hire” without meeting city regulations.

Assistant City Attorney Westley Phillips said the company was told that was illegal. Phillips said it learned UberX was charging fares.

“These drivers are not licensed by the city of Columbus,” Phillips said. “They haven’t had criminal background checked by the city of Columbus. They haven’t had their driving records checked by the city of Columbus.”

Phillips added there are insurance and liability concerns. The lawsuit notes the terms of service indicate the company is not liable for personal injury or other losses.

“The driver of these vehicles most likely is not going to have commercial liability insurance,” Phillips said. “So their personal insurance policies aren’t going to cover the passenger or the driver.”

WOSU reached out to Uber, but it did not return our calls for comment.

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