With only days left in its session, the Nevada Legislature passed a bill authorizing on-demand transportation companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in the Silver State.
The same bill also approves a 3% excise tax on fares, which will also apply to taxis and limousines. The bill now goes to Gov. Brian Sandoval, who is expected to sign the measure Wednesday.
The bill is effective on passage, but companies like Uber and Lyft will first have to apply for permits with the Nevada Public Utilities Commission before they can begin operating. If Sandoval signs the bill, services like UberX could be back on Nevada’s roads as soon as July 1.
Uber’s entrance to Nevada got off to a bumpy start when the Nevada Transportation Authority obtained a preliminary injunction against the company a month after it began operations in October. Local regulators accused the San Francisco company of operating illegally because it didn’t have any permits the state required of commercial transportation services.
In its own defense, Uber argued that existing regulation did not apply to it because it doesn’t see UberX as a taxi or limousine service.
The passage of the bill is a win for Uber. It creates a new category of transportation service in Nevada called Transportation Network Companies, with different regulations from those that apply to taxis and limos. At least 30 cities and states in the U.S. – including California – have created similar legislation.