From the NewtonPatch, Alison Bauter reports on a bill passed by the Massachusetts legislature that governs ride sharing companies. Alison writes:
As passed, the bill:
- creates a new division under the Department of Public Utilities to oversee and regulate companies such as Uber and Lyft, funded through an annually assessed surcharge on each company’s total revenue in the state.
- allows the state to tax Uber, Lyft and similar companies 20 cents per ride, a cost which must be paid by the company and not passed on to drivers, and half of which will then be proportionally distributed to cities/towns in which it’s collected (to be spent on municipal projects, such as maintaining roads and bridges).
- mandates that mobile ride-hailing companies provide “clear and conspicuous transportation fare estimates to riders at all times, including during surge pricing, high volume and high demand times.”
- prohibits such companies from raising base fares during a federal or a governor-declared state of emergency.
- creates a two-tiered background check system, first by the companies themselves and secondly by that newly created state division, that determines among other things that a driver: is not on the National Sex Offender Registry; hasn’t been convicted of a sex offense or violent crime within the past seven years; and has not been put into a court-mandated alcohol, drug abuse or similar treatment or rehabilitation program.
- convenes a “ride-for-hire task force” that includes representatives from taxi, insurance, disability advocates, mobile ride-hailing and other groups to provide recommendations and proposed legislation on numerous related issues by July 1, 2017.
- temporarily bans ride-hailing pickups at Logan International Airport terminal until MassPort sets its own rules for safe pickups at the airport.
- lets the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority establish its own rules regulating traffic flow and pickup locations, regarding taxis and mobile ride-hailing companies.
Read the full story at MA Passes Uber, Lyft Regulations Package in Late-Night Vote – Newton, MA Patch