Ridesharing Gaining Popularity, Prompts Warning From State - WSPA.com

Ridesharing Gaining Popularity, Prompts Warning From State

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UPSTATE, S.C. -

If you google "ridesharing" in South Carolina, you'll find plenty of options here, mainly for carpooling services. Companies that charge a fee for ridesharing are also welcome to operate here if they follow the law.

For services that charge a fee, there are stricter state and local guidelines. And the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff has a warning about those for-profit companies.

The ORS says word of the popular ridesharing app company Uber trying to set up shop here without being in compliance, prompted the warning. We reached out to Uber but have not heard back.

"What we're concerned about is that the ridesharing apps that are operating outside of the regulatory framework may not have some of the public safety mechanisms or safeguards in place," said ORS Spokesperson Dawn Hipp.

To be in compliance with the state, drivers of the company have to apply for a certificate.

"And that would ensure that the proper levels of insurance are being met," said Hipp, "That the driver has had a criminal background check, is not a registered sex offender and that the vehicle is in good driving condition."

South Carolina law allows ridesharing that's not-for-profit. Like at Clemson where students can sign up for the university's new ridesharing program for free. More than 1,600 students, faculty and staff have signed up for the service so far.

"We're hoping people use it to post a ride, I have classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Does anybody have a similar schedule? Can we ride in together? it's really to match up Clemson University folks to try and get rides to campus," said Dan Hofmann, Director of Parking and Transportation Services.

He says it helps reduce emissions as well as cars on campus. And it's free.

The driver may ask you to split the cost of gas, which is legal.

For more on ridesharing or how to find an authorized driver, you can call the SC Office of Regulatory Staff at: 800-922-1531.

Tracey Early
Tracey co-anchors the 5:30 and 7 p.m. newscasts and is a general assignment reporter.
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