SACRAMENTO – August 14, 2017 – The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has issued California Type Evaluation Program Certificates of Approval to Lyft, Inc. and Uber USA, LLC. after determining that the companies’ digital systems accurately measure distance and time in establishing costs to consumers.
Uber and Lyft connect drivers and riders via smartphone apps that provide a cost to the consumer based on time and distance traveled. The companies’ digital networks utilize GPS and other data transmitted by drivers’ smartphones to calculate fares. After two years of testing in real-world conditions across the state, CDFA certified the accuracy of the two systems. California is the first state to accept a measurement system for transportation network companies, also known as TNCs, which connect passengers with drivers through mobile apps.
“Our evaluation of Lyft and Uber’s measurement systems should give consumers a high degree of assurance that they get what they pay for,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “As technologies and marketing practices advance, we want to ensure the state continues to meet or exceed the standards of consumer protection expected in California.”
CDFA’s Division of Measurement Standards (DMS) is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of commercial weighing and measuring devices in California. All new types of devices, such as the Uber and Lyft applications, must first be evaluated and approved by CDFA before use in California. This process of “type evaluation” certifies that the design and performance complies with all applicable weights and measures requirements for accuracy and reliability. Once certified for use, weights and measures inspectors in the 58 counties throughout California routinely check to ensure continued accuracy. In addition to Lyft and Uber, CDFA is also working with other TNCs that are in the process of being certified.
Since 2015, Uber and Lyft have been operating under temporary use permits, allowing the companies to legally conduct business in California while CDFA did the work to provide final verification of the technologies in use. These systems measure times down to the second and distances in increments of one hundredth of a mile, and they add charges such as tolls, surcharges and booking fees when determining a total fare.
CDFA’s Division of Measurement Standards protects both businesses and consumers by ensuring fair competition for industry and accurate value comparison for consumers. The state works closely with county sealers of weights and measures who carry out the vast majority of weights and measures inspection activities at the local level.