Utah Lawmaker Working on Ridesharing Regulations
A Utah lawmaker is working on a bill proposing statewide regulations for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft.
Some say the smartphone app-based companies should follow the same rules as taxi drivers, including background checks and insurance. But the companies say their services are different from taxis and too much red tape would make it impossible for their part-time drivers.
Rep. Dan McCay of Riverton said he wants to find a middle ground.
The Republican’s proposal came days after Salt Lake City adopted new rules for the services that that make ridesharing legal. Though drivers are already operating in the city, some had been slapped with warnings and fines of up to $6,500.
While the city council eliminated a 30-minute wait period for limousines and a $30 minimum charge at the companies’ request, it required drivers to have background checks, vehicles to undergo inspections and ridesharing cars to carry $1.5 million liability insurance.
The companies said those regulations duplicate their efforts and they won’t follow them. Ridesharing services are different than taxis, they argue, more like neighbors or friends offering to pay for gas in exchange for a lift. The Uber and Lyft apps allow people looking for rides find available drivers, and the company keeps 20 percent of the fare.
McCay said his bill may have different standards than those adopted by Salt Lake City, though the details are still being worked out between the companies and local governments, he said.
If the Legislature adopts statewide rules, they could override or change Salt Lake City’s newly adopted regulations. The new legislative session opens Jan. 26, but exactly when McCay’s ridesharing bill might be introduced depends on agreement between the companies and the governments.