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A whole lot of progress on ride sharing

Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014

* The taxi companies have backed way off their outlandish legislative push to all but outlaw ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft. There is no final agreement yet, however. Word is that insurance details are still to be worked out, but here’s the press release from Rep. Mike Zalewski outlining what’s been put into a bill and will be heard tomorrow…

Local governments can regulate ride-sharing services more strictly than the new state standards, except for chauffeur license requirements and establishing fares

A two-tiered regulation system is provided for ride-sharing systems – for drivers/vehicles participating more than 18 hours per week and those doing it 18 or fewer hours a week

Regulation for more than 18 hours per week

    Drivers must secure a chauffeur’s license from the local government where the vehicle is registered or where the ride-sharing arrangement is conducted

    Vehicles must have distinctive registration plates to designate them as ride-sharing participants

    Vehicle age must be the same as local government requirements for other vehicles transporting passengers commercially

    Vehicles must pass the same inspections local governments require of other vehicles transporting passengers commercially

Regulation for 18 or fewer hours per week

    Drivers do not need a chauffeur’s license

    Dispatchers must conduct background checks on prospective drivers and certify they fall under the 18-hour threshold

    No distinctive registration plates are required

    Dispatchers must certify that vehicles have passed an annual safety inspection before it can be used in ride-sharing

An IDFPR state commercial ride-sharing dispatcher’s license is required, with annual renewals

Dispatchers must have commercial liability insurance with primary coverage for the dispatcher, driver and vehicle

Ride-sharing arrangements cannot be done by “hailing,” hand gestures or verbal statements

Ride-sharing cannot be done at designated taxi stands, queues or loading zones, nor at any place banned by local governments

Ride-sharing drivers must follow all rules a local government has for licensed chauffeurs for servicing under-served areas and providing wheelchair accessible vehicles

Dispatches can only be made to properly licensed drivers and vehicles that have distinctive registration plates

Violations of ride-sharing requirements are subject to penalties under IDFPR

Anyone injured or in danger of being injured from an actual or imminent violation of this new law can sue in circuit court

Allow taxis to establish a system for “surge pricing” in situations where rider demand is high, as long as the service is contacted by an Internet or smartphone device and drivers clearly agree to higher prices for using the service

Dispatchers must collect records on all commercial ride-sharing vehicles

IDFPR must adopt rules to implement the provisions in this proposed law

All the truly goofy over the top stuff is gone. That’s a good thing.

I also like the idea of taxi companies getting into the online ride share business. It’ll help spur even more competition and force the companies to improve their service.

* Meanwhile, Mayor Emanuel is also continuing to work on a compromise

Emanuel is still refusing to regulate ride-sharing fares for fear of snuffing out a burgeoning industry on the cutting edge of technology that gives Chicagoans more transportation options.

But he’s reserving the right to “place a cap on surge pricing” during periods of peak demand if increased disclosure requirements fail to “alleviate consumer complaints.”

In the meantime, ride-sharing companies would be required to “publicly announce” when surge pricing periods are in effect and “take steps to ensure that customers clearly agree” to those higher prices. That includes providing customers with a “true fare quote in dollars and cents” instead of a multiplier.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

4 Comments
  1. - GwmGOP - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    My question is how is any of this enforced?

    What’s to prevent an app based company like Lyft to NOT abide by any of these rules by simply maintaining an unregulated social network of people requesting rides with people willing to give rides?


  2. - Robert the Bruce - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    Good to hear they are working to a reasonable compromise. The insurance thing might be important.

    Your young part-time rideshare driver has little to no assets and he hasn’t let his insurance company know that he is using his car commercially. There’s an accident, and you are severely hurt. It wouldn’t surprise me if the rideshare company was savvy enough to put the liability on the driver, while his insurance company won’t cover the damage since he wasn’t insured as a commercial driver.


  3. - a drop in - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 2:55 pm:

    What’s to prevent an app based company like Lyft to NOT abide by any of these rules by simply maintaining an unregulated social network of people requesting rides with people willing to give rides?

    I suspect these companies are developing a revenue based model for ride sharing and are not trying to be pirates. The way to make this work, financially, is to get sensibile rules state by state.


  4. - Allen Skillicorn - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 3:33 pm:

    While in college I worked as a mechanic. Everytime a taxi came in, it was in horrible mechanical shape. Of course the cab company only did the minimum repairs.

    A few years ago I was in Miami riding in a cab when the spring mount failed going around an on ramp. The driver managed to keep us out of the guard rail, but said it wasn’t the first time it had happened.

    If you really believe that cabs are safer or in better mechanical condition than the ride sharing alternatives, I have a bridge to sell ya.


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