South Carolina Orders Uber to Halt Operations

South Carolina has ordered Uber to stop its ride-sharing service that operates in four cities.

The Public Service Commission issued a cease-and-desist order on January 15.

Uber launched its ride service in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Columbia and Greenville last year. The service allows users to request a ride through a smartphone app, which then allows them to agree with a driver on a price, destination, and pick-up time.

The commission said the service must stop until a request to provide it is approved. Several other cities nationwide have also issued cease-and-desist orders for Uber.

Company spokesman Taylor Bennett says Uber plans to appeal and is committed to providing the service to South Carolinians.

Gov. Nikki Haley last Friday called the commission’s order “extremely disappointing.”

The Republican governor can’t tell the commissioners what to do. All are elected by the Legislature. Instead, in a letter to the commissioners, she urged legislators to take up ridesharing this session and create a “permanent home for this option.”

“Restricting our citizens’ rights to options and economic opportunities is massively detrimental to South Carolina,” she wrote. “It is wrong and, simply put, it is not who we are.”

Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, D-Charleston, said he’s already working on a bill allowing Uber to operate legally in the state and could introduce it this week.

“In addition to creating jobs for the people of Charleston, Uber has provided a safer way to travel in our city and state,” he said, noting he’s used the service many times. “It’s unconscionable that this basic technology would not be available to residents and visitors.”