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Driverless Taxis Can Expand San Francisco Services, Regulators Say

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California regulators agreed on Thursday to the expansion of driverless taxi services in San Francisco, despite the safety concerns of local officials and community activists.

In a 3-to-1 vote, the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates self-driving cars in the state, gave Cruise and Waymo permission to offer paid rides anytime during the day throughout the city. One commissioner was absent.

Cruise, a General Motors subsidiary, had been offering paid rides in one-third of the city while Waymo, which is owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, was offering free trips to passengers in its driverless cars. The vote had no impact on the frequent test drives that Waymo and Cruise have been conducting without passengers on San Francisco streets.

The commission’s decision after a seven-hour hearing followed months of protest by city officials and civic groups, who complained that the driverless cars were a potential road hazard. While the autonomous vehicles have not been blamed for any serious incidents, city officials say they often shut down and won’t move…

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