Uber

Smartphones displaying Uber car availability in New York. 

Julio Cortez, Associated Press

HELENA – The ride-hailing company Uber has filed an application with Montana regulators for a license to operate in the state, starting a protest period for any motor carrier or member of the public to comment before the Public Service Commission makes its decision.

Montana is one of the few states, along with Wyoming, South Dakota and West Virginia, where the company does not have a presence. In August, Montana's PSC approved a new class of license for firms that use smartphone apps to hail rides.

The company doesn't have any immediate plans for a launch date, Uber spokeswoman Kate Downen said.

"Right now we're focused on going through the application process to make sure we're compliant with Montana law," Downen said in an email.

Uber subsidiary Rasier-MT LLC filed the Montana application on Oct. 20 after the PSC advised the company that its original application in July was incomplete, PSC spokesman Eric Sell said.

The company's proposed areas of service are "between all points and places within the state of Montana" and it has $100,000 in operating capital, according to the application.

Its insurance coverage will include $1 million for death, injury or property damage while a driver is providing a ride to a fare. The coverage is $100,000 for death or injury per incident or $25,000 for property damage when the driver is logged into the Uber app but not engaged in a ride.

The PSC will take comments during the protest period until Nov. 24. If no protests are received, the commission could issue a final order on the application without a public hearing.

A public hearing will be set if a protest is received.

A state law passed this year took away the ability of taxi and limousine operators to block new competitors, opening the door for firms like Uber and Lyft to operate.

Earlier this month, city leaders in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, approved rules to allow ride-hailing services. West Virginia lawmakers rejected a bill earlier this year that would have allowed Uber to operate in the state.

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