The General Assembly will have at least two bills to consider as lawmakers try to better regulate ride-sharing services.
Critics claim the safety and rights of consumers are left unprotected by ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. The Public Utility Commission agreed in a recent ruling that included cease-and-desist orders to prevent the companies from offering their services in Allegheny County.
The law requires transportation companies that provide rides to have licenses issued by the commission.
Uber and Lyft, and other ride-sharing service companies, use a software platform that enables riders to connect with drivers using smartphone technology. The driver and rider connect and a fee is charged for the transportation.
State Rep. Thomas Killion (R-Chester, Delaware) introduced legislation this week to regulate transportation network companies, which provide the connection technology.
“My legislation would protect the consumer while promoting this new and innovative industry,” Killion said in a news release.
Under his legislation, TNCs would be required to:
• Obtain commercial liability insurance as primary coverage, rather than a secondary umbrella policy;
• Obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience from the state;
• Obtain and file with the PUC criminal background checks on the network drivers;
• Obtain a special tag from PennDOT to provide easy identification for the passenger;
• And exempt service in Philadelphia, where the city parking authority has separate jurisdiction.
“By establishing certain minimal restrictions on TNCs, the consumer will be adequately protected in the event of a traffic mishap; from unscrupulous drivers; or placing themselves in imminent danger due to an improperly inspected vehicle,” Killion said in the release.
Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny County) introduced similar legislation last month to resolve the Allegheny County issue. Fontana’s bill would create driver training programs and add a no-tolerance policy regarding drivers who use alcohol.
In addition, Fontana’s measure requires drivers to have an updated photo in plain view and the driver would not be permitted to pick up passengers who “hail” the vehicle while in use.
“My legislation resolves outstanding issues and would enable the ride-sharing companies to continue operating,” Fontana said in a news release. “The bill includes provisions that promote safety and security for riders while compelling companies to maintain sufficient insurance coverage for contingencies.”
Both bills will receive committee consideration before any full legislature vote is scheduled.