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Summon Becomes First Rideshare Service Licensed In California

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A car service called Summon is the first to be licensed under California's new rules for on-demand taxi companies.

The California Public Utilities Commission issued the first license for a transportation network company to the San Francisco firm, formerly known as InstaCab.

The CPUC said Summon is the first company to comply with the state's regulations, which were put in place last September. Companies are required to hold a commercial liability insurance policy, conduct background checks on drivers, have driver vehicles inspected, establish a driver training program, and implement a strict drug and alcohol policy.

Meanwhile, San Francisco supervisors are considering whether to limit how many cars services like Summon, Lyft, Uber and Sidecar, can have cruising the streets at any given time. Supervisor Eric Mar will hold a hearing on Thursday on how San Francisco should regulate the new rivals to taxi cabs.

But not everyone who uses these services is pleased about a possible cap.

"I think they should be regulated to some extent," said one user. "So there's controls on them, or they are legally obligated to follow whatever the rules other taxi companies have. But, they found a new market, and they should be allowed to have their business and operate in a new market."

Seattle just passed a law capping these transportation network companies at 150 cars at a time each, which San Francisco may emulate.

For its part, Uber opposes the idea, and said it would be bad for the economy.

The topics of safety and insurance for ridesharing companies was put in the spotlight after an Uber driver struck and killed a 6-year-old girl at Polk and Ellis streets in San Francisco on New Year's Eve. The driver, 57-year-old Syed Muzzafar, was not carrying a passenger at the time of the collision.

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