Ride-sharing service Uber not legally operating in Myrtle Beach

The ride-sharing service Uber says it began servicing the Myrtle Beach area Thursday, but city officials say it doesn't have the proper paperwork to operate.

The issue at hand is if Uber is a taxi service. The spokesman of Myrtle Beach says yes, but Uber representatives say no and that's why they don't need a business license to operate in the city.

"Uber is a technology company. It's not a taxi company. We don't own cars and we don't employ drivers. What we do is build the technology to enable folks in that community to communicate with one another for that purpose," said Billy Guernier, the general manager for the east coast expansion.

Guernier says their service is the app, the actual technology that connects drivers and riders. They say they don't provide the ride itself.

But Mark Kruea, with the city of Myrtle Beach says the way they see it, the app operates similar to a taxi service and needs a license to operate.

"The company needs to have the business license. The taxis need to have the certification of operation and the company would get those for the taxis. And then the drivers need to have taxi permits. So there really are three parties involved in this," said Kruea.

Kruea says a taxi by definition is someone that takes a person from point a to point b and charges them by time and by distance. He says that is what Uber provides.

Therefore, they would need certificates to do that and they would need a business license.

He says every day the company operates without a license, they're opening themselves up to fines and possible jail time.

"We stand behind our partners 100 percent," said Guernier. "Just because someone writes us a ticket doesn't mean that ticket is valid."

Uber argues once they educate the cities and states about their app, they will understand how the company works, and they will see they are a technology company not a taxi service.

Kruea says he has not had any contact with anyone from Uber.

"Uber drivers are not taxi drivers. We actually have a product in some areas where we work with taxi drivers. In that case its called Uber Taxi and you are actually getting into a taxi. It's a very different thing," said Guernier.

Myrtle Beach isn't the only city saying Uber might not have all the proper paperwork needed to operate.

The City of Charleston said it has told the company that its drivers need a chauffeur's license and officials say they will cite any drivers they find without the special license.

Uber says service also began Thursday in Charleston, Columbia and Greenville.