April 25, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Waymo’s LA Expansion Hits Roadblock: CPUC Temporarily Halts Self-Driving Company’s Plans

California Public Utilities Commission suspends Waymo’s service expansion for 120 days.

California’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has put a temporary halt to Waymo’s plans to expand its self-driving car services in Los Angeles County and Silicon Valley, as reported by KTLA 5 News. KTVU reported that the CPUC suspended Waymo’s expansion for up to 120 days, requesting a staff review on the matter. The commission’s hold on the project is set to expire on June 19, as reported by The Verge.

David J. Canepa, Vice President of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, stated that Waymo has impeded meaningful discussions on its expansion plans. This delay prevents the company from testing its robotaxi service with fewer restrictions in San Mateo and Los Angeles counties. Canepa mentioned concerns about public safety, citing incidents in San Francisco, where Waymo vehicles blocked firehouse driveways and parked on fire hoses.

L.A. Mayor Karen Bass wrote a letter to CPUC President Alice Busching Reynolds, drawing attention to incidents in San Francisco and requesting local regulation of self-driving vehicles. 

Waymo began offering rides in parts of L.A. County in late 2023, covering areas like Santa Monica, Century City, West Hollywood, Mid-City Koreatown, and downtown Los Angeles. In response to safety concerns, Waymo said it reached out to stakeholders, including county officials, first responders, and cities, before expanding its service area.

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