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California regulators are trying to crack down on a company that orders Ubers for the blind and elderly.
In February, the Consumer Protection and Enforcement Division (CPED) of the California Public Utilities Commission—the state body that regulates transportation network services such as Uber and Lyft—issued a citation to GoGo Grandparent for operating a for-hire transportation service without permission.
Regulators demanded that the company pay a $10,000 fine and obtain the necessary permit to run a transportation network company, which would involve getting $1 million liability insurance for its vehicles and handing over lists of its drivers to the state.
Instead, for the past four years, the company has been providing a toll-free hotline that customers without a smartphone can call to order an Uber or Lyft ride to their home or another prearranged location. Using customer-provided information, GoGo's software automatically orders a ride, then charges a 27-cent-per-mile fee for its services.
GoGo's service is aimed at elderly and disabled people who either don't have or can't use smartphones. Its novelty and perceived public benefit—improving mobility for seniors—has earned the company coverage from such outlets as The New York Times and TechCrunch.
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