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Licensing open to Uber, others, but hailing a ride months away

Uber, Lyft and other transportation network companies can now apply for licensing through the state, thanks to action taken Monday by the Nevada Transportation Authority.

But don’t expect to be hailing a ride with those companies with an app any time soon. There’s still a lot of work to do before that happens.

In a 2-0 vote, the Transportation Authority adopted emergency regulations opening the application process in compliance with bills signed into law May 29. Those laws required the authority, which regulates the state’s limousine fleet and taxi companies outside Clark County, to begin accepting applications within 30 days of its passage.

The emergency regulation is a simple two-page notice filled with definitions and a checklist of information an applicant must supply to the state.

Companies wanting to operate in Nevada could apply as early as Monday afternoon, but Authority Chairman Andrew MacKay in the meeting warned that the board still had to draft a series of operational regulations before any company could offer a ride.

Those regulations are being drafted and will be debated at two public workshop meetings. Authority commissioners plan to conduct video-conferenced meetings in Las Vegas July 16 and in Carson City July 23, both at 9 a.m. Public comment will be taken at both meetings and the Las Vegas sessions will be conducted at a hearing room in the Grant Sawyer Building.

“We’re writing a whole new chapter of the NRS (Nevada Revised Statutes),” Commissioner Keith Sakelhide said. “We’re beginning with a blank sheet of paper so if you have ideas about what the regulation should say, we want to hear from the public about it.”

Once the authority tweaks the regulations after the hearings, they must be resubmitted to the Legislative Counsel Bureau for review before being returned to the authority for adoption. The entire process is expected to take at least two months with the first ride-hailing rides offered around Labor Day.

The emergency regulation outlining the application process explains that corporations, partnerships and existing permit holders can apply for licensing. Corporations and limited-liability companies must document certification from the secretary of state’s office.

In addition, applicants are being asked to submit statements describing the type of service to be performed, including rates or fares to be charged and rules governing service; qualifications and experience of the personnel who will manage and operate the service; and the technology that would be used to provide the service.

An application fee of $200 is being asked, but there may be other fees assessed once the operating regulations are established.

The emergency regulation also notes that the authority would notify an applicant in writing if an application is incomplete or deficient. The applicant would have 15 days to provide the necessary information for the process to continue.

Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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