The fight among the ride-sharing services has been heating up lately. But when it comes to fighting the government, they’re all on the same side.
Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar have been negotiating with lobbyists and lawmakers this week for tweaks to two bills up for a vote, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
The bills would affect the way these car-sharing apps operate and how much they will charge passengers to use them. The bills, if they become law, would only affect ride-sharing services in California.
The first bill, AB2293, would require stricter insurance requirements for drivers, including $US750,000 in commercial liability insurance from the minute the driver turns on the app. They would also have to have $US1 million commercial insurance coverage from the moment they agree to pick up a passenger. This is in addition to the $US1 million commercial insurance coverage while a passenger is in the car that’s required by the state.
Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar argue that this is way more than what is required of taxi companies, and that the commercial insurance shouldn’t kick in until the driver is matched with a passenger. They say that the higher insurance premiums could result in higher rates for passengers.
The second bill is AB612, which would require drivers to get deeper background checks and would prohibit companies from using drivers who been convicted of crimes in the past.
The companies say that the two bills are stifling innovation.
But Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, who is behind AB2293, disagrees. “It’s never been the intention of my bill to stifle technology or innovation — I think these are good companies. My family uses these companies,” she told the Mercury News. “Having consumer protection in place is not a mutually exclusive goal with having a technology-based company.”
Uber has found itself in numerous lawsuits over regulations and insurance policies. In January, a man filed a lawsuit against Uber and a driver for hitting and killing his 6-year-old daughter. At the time, Uber said it wasn’t responsible because there was no passenger in the car.
Uber and Lyft later changed their policies, providing some more coverage for the time before a passenger is actually in the car.
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