Hillsborough panel may ask state to set Uber, Lyft rules

By Mike Salinero : tbo – excerpt

In San Francisco and Los Angeles, a check of Uber drivers earlier this summer turned up convicted sex offenders, identity thieves, burglars, kidnappers and a murderer. The check was undertaken during a consumer protection lawsuit filed by the two California cities’ district attorneys. San Francisco DA George Gascon said the investigation found “systemic failures” in Uber background checks, according to news reports.

The long-standing battle between Hillsborough County’s Public Transportation Commission and ride-share companies Uber and Lyft could be settled in Tallahassee.

Today, the transportation commission will consider proposing a state law that would allow Uber and Lyft to operate legally in Hillsborough County if they abide by certain requirements. A draft bill will be presented to the county’s legislative delegation Sept. 25 if a majority of commission members agree.

The requirements have all been ignored or refused by Uber and Lyft in the past. They include the following:

♦  Uber and Lyft drivers must undergo federal and state background checks that include fingerprinting.

♦  Drivers must carry personal and liability insurance which covers the drivers when they are carrying passengers.

♦  Vehicles must have annual inspections by a certified mechanic of the driver’s choosing.

Some — not all — Uber and Lyft vehicles must be accessible for wheelchair-bound and blind passengers.

Uber and Lyft are abiding by similar regulations in other metro areas, including New York, Dallas-Fort Worth and Columbus, Ohio, said Kyle Cockream, executive director of the Public Transportation Commission.

“They’re doing vehicle inspections, background checks and they’ve got insurance like we’re asking for,” Cockream said. “They won’t comply in any market until they are compelled to.”… (more)

If these companies can meet these requirements in some cities, they can meet them in all cities.

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