Sidecar’s permit to operate in California suspended, could be reversed

Update 5:16 p.m.: Sidecar spokeswoman Margaret Ryan wrote the Examiner, saying, “We made an administrative error when filing documents we need to renew with the CPUC. They now have the documents. The CPUC is aware of the administrative error and Sidecar remains fully operational in California.”

The full story as it was initially published is below.

One “rideshare” company in California just had the brakes slammed on its operations, but perhaps only temporarily.

Technology company Sidecar had its permit to operate in California suspended, according to recent state filings.

Like its competitors, Uber and Lyft, Sidecar is legally considered a transportation network company, and is regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission. TNCs are required to file proof of workers compensation insurance, CPUC spokesman Christopher Chow told the San Francisco Examiner, but Sidecar missed its most recent filing.

“Sidecar did not file proof of workers compensation insurance by the deadline, and our system automatically generated a suspension notice,” Chow said. That suspension was generated July 22.

A screenshot of Sidecar's suspended permit, on the CPUC website.
A screenshot of Sidecar’s suspended permit, on the CPUC website.

The suspension has made some small ripples in the taxi community, with some touting the company’s downfall. But, far from folding, the company recently pivoted from “ridesharing” into a delivery service. Reports began to crop up in May about Sidecar’s partnership with the company Meadow, to deliver marijuana in San Francisco, and the company now delivers groceries, food, and goods.

In an Aug. 17 blog post, Sidecar CEO Sunil Paul touted his company’s new direction.

“By leveraging our rideshare business, we provide merchants with the fastest, most affordable and scalable on-demand delivery solution on the market,” Paul wrote. “We’re the largest B2B on-demand network in the U.S. and on track to complete 200k deliveries this fall.”

The blog bore no mention of ceasing operation in California, and Sidecar could not be reached for comment. The CPUC said Sidecar would regain its operating permit when it submits the required documents.

“Sidecar is working on submitting the required documents,” Chow said. “Assuming they comply, the suspension will be lifted shortly.”

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