(CN) - The South Carolina Public Service Commission has ordered Uber to halt its operations in the state, seven months after the car service entered the market.
The agency had previously scheduled a public hearing later this month to get on handle on how best to regulate the app-based ride service, but that session was canceled due to a conflict regarding discovery and documents Uber was being asked to provide the Checker Yellow Cab Co., which is objecting to the company's license request.
Rasier LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uber Technologies Inc., has been operating in Charleston, Columbia, Greenville and Myrtle Beach since late last spring, and hearings on its license request have been canceled at least twice before.
On Thursday afternoon, the commission, which considers licensing applications, and members of the Office of Regulatory Staff, met to discuss the status of Uber's request.
They noted that counsel for the ride service had sent the commission a letter urging it to going ahead with the January 26 hearing. But on Thursday morning, attorneys for Checker Yellow Cab filed a response reiterating its position that the hearing needed to be delayed in order to resolve the outstanding discovery issues and allow adequate time for use of any information produced in discovery in preparation for the hearing.
"Whether Rasier is currently operating in this state without authority, as ORS is informed and believes, or the company seeks only prospectively to provide service, as Rasier seems to imply, the new information provided in the recent correspondence requires this Commission to act today to clarify Rasier's legal obligations as well as those of its associated entities," the commission said.
The body went on to say that state statute requires all motor carriers offering transport for compensation to obtain a license to do so "before commencing operation."
" This requirement ... is driven by the Legislature's concern for public safety and other legal considerations. At this point, it is not necessary to make a finding of fact that the Applicant is or is not operating. It is only necessary that the Applicant be held to the same standard as every other applicant," the commission said. "To the extent that Rasier or its related companies and affiliates and/or its network partner drivers are currently operating, they must cease and desist operating unless and until the Application is approved and a Certificate is issued."
A spokesman for Uber said the company plans to challenge the order.
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