The California Public Utilities Commission announced that it has agreed to suspend a cease-and-desist order against two San Francisco-based companies that use smartphone technology to connect drivers to passengers.

The CPUC on Wednesday lifted its order as well as a $20,000 fine that it had levied against Lyft, a donation-based ridesharing service famous for the pink mustaches on the front of its cars.

The state agency then announced the similar suspending of sanctions against Uber, which uses town cars and other vehicles to pick up passengers.

The agreements come after the CPUC in December began a rule-making process to draft new regulations for the emerging ridesharing businesses, which have been criticized by taxi drivers who say they are taking away fares from them and lack proper oversight.

The state agency said its agreement with Lyft contains “safety requirements that include continued proof of insurance, Department of Motor Vehicle checks, and national criminal background checks.”

A cease-and-desist order against SideCar, another San Francisco-based ridesharing company, remains in effect, according to the CPUC.

Uber officials wrote a post on their website saying their agreement “demonstrates how the Golden State welcomes and supports not only technological advancement, but a better future for drivers, riders, and our cities.”

Logan Green and John Zimmer, the co-founders of Lyft, also wrote a post on their website calling their agreement “an early sign of progress” and said it “sets a precedent for the upcoming rulemaking process.”

The process will include workshops with stakeholders as well as written comments, rather than a series of hearings, and a decision by the CPUC within six months.

Anyone interested in participating in the process is asked to contact the commission’s process office at 505 Van Ness Ave. or send an email to Process_Office@cpuc.ca.gov.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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