Ride-hailing companies Uber, Lyft apply for permits to operate in Nevada

Industrials Associated Press

Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft filed applications Friday for permits to operate in Nevada, meaning they could be cleared to hit the roads within a month.

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Uber spokeswoman Eva Behrend said the company submitted its application to the Nevada Transportation Authority on Friday afternoon, while state officials said Lyft's application was received earlier the same day.

The applications come as the agency finalizes regulations for so-called transportation network companies, which allow people to hail a ride with a smartphone. The authority could adopt the rules at a hearing scheduled for Sept. 11.

State lawmakers passed hard-fought bills this spring authorizing companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in Nevada. Uber made a brief appearance in Nevada in the fall before a judge ordered the company to stop, saying it wasn't following rules for cabs.

Taxi companies fought against creating a separate regulatory framework for ride-hailing, saying the companies posed a public safety risk if they operated with different restrictions than cabs.

But the Legislature eventually passed the bills and ordered a 3 percent fare tax that's expected to raise tens of millions of dollars for the state over the next two years.

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Legislators grilled agency authorities last week about why the companies still weren't operating by August, saying they technically could have had their permits in July under the provisions of the bill.

The application submissions Friday set a countdown in motion: The Nevada Transportation Authority is required to issue a permit within 30 days of application to companies that meet the requirements set forth in the law.