House bill seeks to modernize taxicab and rideshare regulations, benefit consumers
House Bill 2782, introduced by Representatives Tarleton (D-36th) and Habib (D-48th) yesterday, would direct the Joint Transportation Committee to study the taxi, limousine, and rideshare industry and make recommendations regarding a state regulatory framework. The study would do the following:
- Determine how the taxi, limo, for-hire, and rideshare companies are currently regulated and how they may be regulated in the future;
- Review current levels of insurance, safety, impacts of capping and regulating taxicabs, and barriers to enter the market;
- Provide recommendations that would “benefit the public by encouraging additional transportation options" and the ability to regulate the industry on a state level rather than a local level.
The bill’s language states that a piecemeal approach to regulating the industry stifles innovation and does little to benefit consumers. The aim of the bill is to create a state-level regulatory framework by 2015.
Currently, the taxicab industry is heavily regulated by city and county governments while rideshare companies are not. Opponents of rideshare companies have said that companies like UberX, Lyft, and Sidecar are operating outside of the taxicab’s government-granted monopoly and are stealing taxicab business. Rideshare boosters, however, have said that technological innovation and a customer-service based approach serve a different market, provide new services, and are popular with the traveling public.
Two months ago, we looked at Seattle City Council’s initial plan to regulate ridesharing and concluded it stifled innovation and unfairly picked winners and losers. The council’s proposal would still protect government-granted monopolies and wouldn’t meet the needs of consumers.
Adequate insurance and licensing standards are reasonable, but elected officials should not artificially cap the number of cars or drivers providing taxicab, for-hire, limousine, or rideshare services.
The study would be due by the end of the year.