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March 23, 2019

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It could be months before Uber, Lyft are on the road in Nevada

Updated Thursday, July 23, 2015 | 5:20 p.m.

CARSON CITY — It's been almost two months since Gov. Brian Sandoval signed hard-fought bills clearing the way for ride-hailing in Nevada, but it could be months more before companies such as Uber and Lyft actually hit the roads.

Members of the Nevada Transportation Authority met Thursday to take public comment about regulations for so-called transportation network companies, which allow people to hail rides through a smartphone app. Commissioners also outlined several hurdles those rules still have to cross.

"There are a couple things that are out of our control," said Commissioner Keith Sakelhide. As for a start date, "your crystal ball is every bit as good as mine."

Among the next steps:

• The three-member transportation authority is accepting written public comment until Aug. 3. They will then finalize draft regulations and submit them to Nevada's Legislative Counsel Bureau for review.

• Once the Legislative Counsel Bureau approves them, the authority will schedule a public hearing at least 30 days in the future. The adoption hearing will be the first time members of the authority can deliberate among themselves about the rules.

• Any changes from the adoption hearing will be included in regulations that are submitted to state lawmakers on the Legislative Commission.

• Once the Legislative Commission approves the regulations, ride-hailing companies' applications can be processed.

Sakelhide said the length of the process depends on how fast the Legislative Counsel Bureau reviews the rules, when the Legislative Commission schedules a meeting and other variables.

Thursday's meeting was the second workshop the authority has held to listen to public concerns about companies like Uber. The company operated briefly in Nevada last fall before a judge ordered it to stop, saying it wasn't adhering to the rules for taxis.

Representatives from taxi companies complained Thursday that ride-hailing companies weren't subject to the random drug testing as they were. They also said there could be territorial disputes between cab drivers and Uber drivers over pick-up areas outside Las Vegas hotels.

Much of the major policy on ride-hailing was settled this spring, when Nevada legislators passed two bills after extensive debate and deal-making.

The final compromise called for a 3 percent tax on cab and ride-hailing company fares in Nevada — money that lawmakers said would support road construction projects and budget priorities such as the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Medical School.

Las Vegas resident Josh Canales, who plans to become a driver with Lyft when the company formally enters the market, testified Thursday that he was anxious for operations to begin.

"I think that there's a big gap in the transportation in the suburbs of Las Vegas," Canales told the panel. "As a resident of Nevada, I'm extremely excited for the technology and the new way of transportation, but personally, I'm excited to provide safe and affordable rides to my community."

"And also," he said, "it's a good way to make extra money."

Las Vegas Sun reporter Cy Ryan contributed to this report.

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