SAN FRANCISCO — Web-based ride-hailing companies will have to make sure drivers undergo training and criminal background checks and have commercial liability insurance under rules approved Thursday by California regulators.
The state Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously in favor of those rules and others for such companies as Lyft and Sidecar. Both companies rely on smartphone applications to connect riders and drivers who use their own vehicles.
Commissioners said the rules were needed to ensure public safety.
"Today, we have an opportunity to introduce groundbreaking regulation in the transportation industry," commission President Michael Peevey said before the vote.
The regulations put ride-hailing firms in a new category of business called transportation network companies that are separate from taxi cabs and limousines.