Report on fraud and regulatory corruption created by proposed Taxi Deregulation
Prepared by, Ride Safe International Inc. 501c3 Non-Profit
Concerning Documents AB918 (Assembly bill) And SB759 (Senate bill) Wisconsin state legislature 2017 – 2018 LEGISLATURE
PUBLIC HEARING FOR THIS BILL WILL BE THURSDAY FEBRUARY 8th STARTING AT 10AM IN ROOM 417 NORTH IN THE WISCONSIN STATE CAPITAL BUILDING. THIS HEARING IS PUBLIC. HEARING MAY START AS LATE AS 11AM.
There are many aspects of this legislation that may initially appeal to Taxi and Limo operators through out Wisconsin.
However upon reading and comprehensive comparison with bills 106 (Senate) and 143 (assembly) from 2015, it is very clear that the proposed legislation establishes an entirely corrupt, fraudulent and unregulated method of operations for the Taxi and Limo industry.
Many of the same standards of deregulation that apply to Rideshare/TNC companies in Wisconsin established by 2015 SENATE BILL 106 and 2015 ASSEMBLY BILL 143 would also apply to taxis and limos through out the state under this proposed legislation.
I sincerely hope that all legislators will consider a rational approach to taxi regulations and allow them to remain within the domain of municipal regulation unless the industry itself agrees with such deregulation or a better form of state wide deregulation can be written.
Source materials, evidence and records for all points addressed in this document can be found in attachments and at:
Justin La Plante
Ride Safe international
fraud and corruption Issues with the proposed legislation as compared to Rideshare/TNC regulations in Wisconsin.
The proposed legislation establishes many of the same deregulation for the Taxi and Limo industry that were established for Rideshare/TNC operations.
During the 2015 legislative sessions and hearings concerning 106 and 143, many legislators who were involved at that time may remember that several parties including Ride Safe warned the legislation in public hearings on both bills of the following dangers:
1- Uninsured wrecks caused by Rideshare/TNC drivers working for Lyft and Uber due to fraudulent terminology in driver contracting and lack of an effective insurance policy liability established in legislation terms.
This has in fact lead to SEVERAL reported incidents in Wisconsin both before and since 2015 of Uber and Lyft accidents where insurance coverage was not in place and/or did not compensate victims and public property damages even though the rideshare drivers at fault were operating with the app on and with customers in the vehicles.
This is because insurance liability for Rideshare/TNC operations was never properly addressed in 106 or 143.
For insurance coverage to be properly established under Rideshare/TNC contracting, the driver must contact and establish notification of commercial operations WITH THEIR OWN auto insurance provider.
If this notification is not established or if the auto insurance provider will not cover or maintain insurance for the driver when they are not performing commercial operations, then the establishment of insurance liability with both Uber and Lyft DOES NOT EXIST for the driver or their passengers during ANY ride provided.
Since 106 and 143 never established proper notification to drivers of these contracting aspects OR require ANY establishment of proper communication between the driver and their own insurance provider.
2- Lack of proper background checking on rideshare drivers.
In 2016 Ride Safe was able to establish a driver on the Uber application in Madison, WI using entirely falsified documents including a falsified insurance policy and state of Wisconsin vehicle registration.
SEVERAL portions of these documents were fabricated with microsoft paint, using print that did not match the print of the original documents that were altered and VIN numbers that did not match from document to document.
The driver who registered even spoke with LIVE staff working fro Uber and exchanged these documents with them as they claimed to check them in real time with their background check and vetting process.
The driver was approved to operate for Uber even though the vehicle the driver registered with was not even in operation and the insurance and vehicle registration documents used had been falsified entirely.
Bills 106 and 143 did not properly establish a means of vetting or background checking for rideshare/TNC drivers which is in any way comprehensive enough to address domestic OR foreign criminal records.
3- Over charging of customers through fraudulent ‘surge’ pricing practices by Uber and Lyft
106 and 143 did not properly or effectively address the Rideshare/TNC practice of ‘surge’ pricing.
This is a method of billing where-in the Rideshare/TNC company can increase the price of the fare during what ever time of the day the Rideshare/TNC wishes and for what ever amount the Rideshare/TNC wishes to add based on a claim of increased demand.
However as revealed by numerous screen captures the ‘surge’ that is put into effect does not cover the entirely of the service area or even a fraction of the total sum of one city the Rideshare/TNC company operates in.
This establishes a deceptive and targeted billing practice which shifts the focus of the driver from providing fair service to all areas of a city to providing selective service to limited areas of a city.
If the surge system were in fact addressing supply and demand fairly, then surge rates should at least be equalized in ALL areas of available service and not targeted only in small portions of a city.
Uber and Lyft Surge prices in Wisconsin have charged residents and visitors to the state in excess of $600 for rides between Green bay and Appleton and $80 for rides from central Madison to the city’s airport, as well as applying surge rates during normally slow transit times or times of the day when there is virtually no demand at all.
4- Lack of oversight by DSPS for clear violations of Rideshare/TNC law in Wisconsin
Ride Safe made a complaint to DSPS after we registered a driver with falsified documents on the Uber app.
After DSPS took FOUR MONTHS to process the complaint and determine action, the department of Safety and Professional Services determined that the incident WA S NOT a violation of the law or a concern for DSPS to take action.
5- Assaults on customers by Uber and Lyft drivers in Wisconsin
Since the passage of 106 and 143 in Wisconsin, several assaults on customers through out the state have occurred.
In nearly every instance, it was found that the drivers who committed the assaults had previous criminal records, no proper insurance on their own vehicles or proper training and vetting to provide safe commercial transportation services as required with Taxis under municipal laws.
Since 2015 taxi drivers in the Wisconsin have committed fewer than 1/6 the number of assaults on customers committed by Uber and Lyft drivers in Wisconsin and NONE committed in a sexual nature by any taxi driver in the state in that time.
This rate reflects the National and international trend of an increase in crime and assaults on customers by Rideshare/TNC drivers over that of their Taxi and Limo counterparts.
The two recent terrorist attacks in New York city were BOTH committed by individuals who BOTH had been working for Ridesahre/TNC companies. One of whom had lost his license to operate for taxi companies BEFORE he easily became an Uber driver.
In November a female Madison resident using Uber was assaulted by her uber driver, leaving massive bruising and scars on her face. While the driver was beating her, he also sexually assaulted her.
It was later found that the driver had a previous criminal record that would have barred him from being employed by any taxi or limo company operating under the current municipal laws.
The driver had also neglected to establish proper insurance agreements with his own insurance provider, invalidating any insurance offered by Uber for the rides provided.
106 and 143 do not properly address driver background checks, training or vetting.
This has directly caused these incidents to occur and will continue to cause incidents to occur until regulation can be established to properly background check and train Rideshare/TNC drivers.
Regulations established by 106 and 143 do not allow comprehensive oversight of regulation with Rideshare/TNC companies.
Trusting the service provider alone to provide proper background checks, vetting and training for drivers does not provide proper background checks, vetting and training for drivers.
This is proven by the numerous incidents that have occurred and WILL continue to occur.
Lowering Taxi and Limo regulations to these same levels would only increase the level of fraud that exists and the number of incidents that will occur at a cost to the public, the customer and also the driver.
Deregulation of services at this level will also become more applied to other services regulated by DSPS as the department has shown a consistent lack of involvement in enforcing or regulating any services it is responsible for.
This is why taxi companies DO NOT want the proposed legislation for deregulation.
These companies have provided insured, properly monitored and vetted services to the public of Wisconsin for generations.
It is not within the prerogative of ANY professional commercial transportation provider to lower it’s standards and principals to that of a Rideshare/TNC company as LRB-3627/1 would require.
Review of proposed legislation and synapse of it’s effect on the Taxi/Limo industry as well as other service and security industries though out Wisconsin.
The proposed legislation, LRB-3627/1 significantly deregulates the Taxi and limo industries by ending the practice of municipal regulation and replacing it with a state regulation under the Department of Safety and Professional services (DSPS).
Licensing/permit costs and “sliding scale”
Through out the proposed legislation there is no reference to the exact rate of any fees for initial licensing, permit or renewal or the exact determination and rate structure under the “sliding scale” for permits referenced by the proposed legislation.
It is only referenced that these rates and this “scale” will be determined by DSPS and will be between $500usd and $5000usd depending on criteria which are not referenced or clearly defined.
The proposal for this legislation was only made a week ago.
The public hearing for this legislation has already been scheduled for the 8th of February. Yet the criteria for this “sliding scale” system and exact permit structures are not entirely described or defined.
Fleet permits, vehicle safety inspection/service, law enforcement, emergency compliance and congestion
Fleets, safety and inspection
Under page 9 section E it is briefly described that the taxi company owner only provide a listed description of all vehicles operating for the company.
There is no comprehensive requirement listed for inspection, vehicle service records to be provided or logged or individual numbering requirements or permits for each individual vehicle outside of what the company owner may or may not opt to mark the vehicle with under the law.
Law enforcement and emergency compliance
Vehicle marking and fleet numbering for proper public and law enforcement identification are also missing from requirements.
While a Taxi or limo may be required to post a company name and/or logo, a fleet number for individual identification number should be required so as to quickly identify to dispatchers and law enforcement by the public or by law enforcement to dispatchers for emergency service and identification.
These requirements do not exist for Rideshare/TNC companies in Wisconsin and because of this very long wait times have been reported in attempts to perform emergency response and law enforcement compliance with incidents concerning Uber and Lyft drivers.
Law enforcement is not given a means to actually call Uber or Lyft to identify vehicles, perform legal service or receive information on drivers or vehicles unless long submission forms are completed and submitted first.
THEN the law enforcement agency must wait until the rideshare/TNC decides to respond.
Emergency and law enforcement response to incidents with uber and Lyft drivers in Wisconsin has been noted to take up to TWELVE HOURS after an incident.
The maximum wait time with Taxis is no longer than 30 minuets if not immediate as taxi providers maintain a live dispatch and vehicle markings carry contact information, rate fares and vehicle numbers on THE OUTSIDE of each vehicle in visible locations along the sides, front and rear of the vehicle..
The proposed legislation carries no cap on the number of vehicles operating and promoted indentured labor.
Ridesahre/TNC companies are not required to provide a cap on the number of vehicles operating or regulate vehicles operating to avoid traffic congestion or a lack of fair pay and work provided to drivers.
This has lead to massive congestion issues with traffic in Large cities as well as numerous complaints by Rideshare/TNC drivers that they make less than minimum wage hourly due to vehicle service/gas costs and a lack of hourly fares due to so many other Rideshare/TNC vehicles in operation.
Current municipal ordinances for Taxi operations place limits on the number of vehicles in operation so drivers can make a sustainable hourly wage weather they are working for the Taxi company as employees or as independent contractors using taxi company vehicles and equipment.
Unregulated numbers in fleet sizes and drivers in operation creates an unsustainable income environment for the driver. Instead of providing a job opportunity the taxi company operating under these proposed deregulations could operate drivers in an ever expanding role of indentured servitude at very low wages as Rideshare/TNC companies Uber and Lyft do currently.
These kinds of jobs do not grow a healthy economy. They also entice sub standard workers who will provide very poor and often more dangerous standards of service.
The proposed legislation establishes the same fraudulent Insurance and vetting terms with taxis as currently exist with Rideshare/TNC companies.
In sections 474.145 through 474.147 The terms for a driver’s own vehicle being used FOR the taxi company and a taxi company operating their own vehicles as well as driver vetting and background checking are established.
These terms deregulate the vetting and background checking on drivers to the same level as that of Rideshare/TNC regulations in the state of Wisconsin.
It has been proven several times over and by the admission of law enforcement officials through out the state of Wisconsin that these are sub standard methods of background checking and driver vetting.
Ride Safe has proven to this legislative body repeatedly since 2015 that both Uber and Lyft DO NOT maintain proper background checks on drivers.
This is because there is no requirement for a fingerprint background check through a local law enforcement agency as is currently the regulation with Taxi, Bus and Limo drivers in the state of Wisconsin through current municipal ordinances.
The insurance terms established by this legislation would allow for insurance policies of Taxis and Limos to be insufficient or entirely invalidated through user agreements the same as Rideshare/TNC companies are allowed under the current legislation.
This would force additional incidental costs onto tax payers, customers, limo and Taxi drivers.
The proposed legislation would force further deregulation, fraud and corruption into other services regulated by DSPS.
With the elimination of so much liability and accountability in a major transportation market, additional services regulated by DSPS could easily demand or be forced by legislators to endure similar deregulations.
Private Security, short range Parcel delivery, food delivery, trucking repair service and hair salons currently under the regulation of DSPS could easily become just as deregulated and begin operating just as fraudulently and irresponsibly as Rideshare/TNCs are currently allowed under the law.
This of course would impact additional costs onto the tax paying public and encourage fraudulent business operations and labor practices.
The proposed legislation allows Ridesahre/TNC companies to operate as Taxis.
There is no provision in the proposed legislation to protect the taxi industry from being co-opted by Rideshare/TNC companies who wish to develop and operate taxi app hail services with purchased fleets under these regulations.
Currently Uber and Lyft operate taxi hail versions of their apps in larger cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.
These are typically done through a deal between one or more taxi providers in an area who allow portions of their fleets to appear as available on app services offered by Uber and Lyft such as ‘UberTaxi’.
However in these instances there are heavy regulations on the vetting of the taxi drivers and companies involved and because of specific regulations to protect taxi operations from being performed by Rideshare/TNC companies, Rideshare/TNC companies can not actually operate AS taxi companies.
Under this proposed legislation there would be no regulatory structure to protect taxi companies from complete encroachment by Rideshare/TNC companies who would be able to purchase and operate taxi fleets.
Most especially since there is no comprehensive review or regulation of reported violations or mitigating circumstances of conflict performed by DSPS.
The provisions of the proposed legislation are also so vague and indeterminate that any Rideshare/TNC could perform all of the operations of a Taxi company AND a Rideshare/TNC and still not be in violation of the law even though they would maintain no actual live dispatch.
Illegal Cash street hails and DSPS regulation
During a recent sting operation in Green bay during the last Packer’s game, ride safe recorded several Uber and lyft drivers performing illegal cash hails.
Under the contracting for Uber and Lyft with their drivers and customers, any ride arranged outside of the app invalidates any and all safety and insurance agreements not already invalidated by the fraudulent contracting both companies use.
A street hail for cash can not be established as a ride arranged through an app.
At the end of February Ride Safe will be submitting these and hundreds of other violations of the current state Rideshare/TNC regulations to DSPS as another report of violations to the department.
Ride Safe hopes that the excessive number of violations reported at one time may inspire DSPS to enforce the law with regard to the established legislation.
In consideration of what has happened during previous attempts to report clear violations of the law to DSPS, how can it be determined that DSPS would be capable or willing to enforce the law with regard to Taxis under the proposed legislation?
Section 3, final summation
Ride Safe is not interested exclusively in the losses of the taxi industry, it’s drivers or taxi company owners. In fact these things are secondary to Ride Safe’s primary goal. That being to protect the public and ensure a safe and INSURED ride for ALL.
We understand that Rideshare/TNC companies offer a fast and cheap transportation solution.
Unfortunately it is a statistical fact that Rideshare/TNC companies are far less safe than ANY other form of commercial ground or air transportation.
Shortly after this legislative body passed 106 and 143 in 2015 Uber was forced to settle two lawsuits over it’s “safe rides fee”, a $1.00usd charge that the company added to all fares to cover what Uber claimed was “safety and insurance”.
After losing these lawsuits, Uber changed the “safe rides fee” to a ‘booking fee” and left the amount charged, the same.
Lyft has a similar “safe rides fee” that it also changed to a “booking fee” at the same time.
BOTH companies still change this same fee, now called a “booking fee”.
BOTH companies can not even LEGALLY claim to be safer or insured compared to a Taxi as a result of Uber losing these lawsuits.
If a civil suit can force the hand of a multi billion dollar company to fraudulently change the name of a fare fee and no longer claim to be “safe”, how does this legislative body expect the Taxi industry to perform any better when it is deregulated to the same level?
THE MAJORITY of Taxi companies in the state of Wisconsin DO NOT want this legislation.
Taxi companies DO NOT want to be as irresponsible and negligent as Rideshare/TNC companies.
Even to the point of losing business because of it.
Because doing business at the expense of tax payers, the general public and customers IS NOT how a professional taxi or limo company wants to do business.
Rep, Nass and regulatory corruption
June 4th 2016:
Steven Nass’s (A primary author of the proposed legislation) aid was recorded lying about Taxi companies in Wisconsin not paying for wrecks, not knowing what the FTC is or actually does, not knowing about the contracting/insurance terms for Uber.
This recording is in the later portion of the interview I had on the Mich Henk show.
In this recording, Mike Mikelson claimed to have evidence that Nass’s office STILL has not provided.
DSPS maintains only 5 offices in Wisconsin and only 2 offices in larger townships (Madison and Green bay). DSPS does not have an office in Milwaukee, Janesville, Appleton or Wisconsin Dells despite regular taxi operations in these areas.
The proposed legislation deregulates taxis and establishes the same loopholes which allow Rideshare/TNC companies to operate without actual insurance or comprehensive background checks on drivers.
On May 12th of 2016 Ride Safe completed a sting operation where we successfully established an Individual as an Uber driver after uploading falsified Insurance, Vehicle registration and background information on the driver.
Article with screen captures:
Ride Safe submitted this incident on a complaint to DSPS for CLEAR violations of the state Rideshare/TNC laws (2015:106 – Senate and 143- Assembly).
The complaint reference files at DSPS are 16-UNL090 and 16-TNC001.
DSPS informed Ride Safe that the complaint process would take THREE MONTHS to consider.
On August 15th of 2016 DSPS informed Ride Safe that the process would take an additional 30 days.
Eventually In September DSPS forwarded a letter and e-mail stating that the complaint about Uber was not an issue and the department would be taking no action.
There is no state wide regulatory body willing to or even capable of regulating commercial transportation state wide in a manner that would be effective under this proposed legislation.
If DSPS were allowed to regulate all taxis state wide, there would no longer be oversight or enforcement in ANY area of the industry.
Fraudulent and uninsured RideShare/TNC operations recorded in Green bay during last packer’s game:
Fraudulent “rideshare insurance” policies being sold in Wisconsin:
Beating and sexual assault of Uber customer by Uber driver in Madison:
On November 24th 2017, an Uber driver, Doteh Albert Mensah operating in Madison Wisconsin Brutally beat and sexually assaulted Madison resident Heather Thorson.
Uber customer killed on beltline after being dumped on highway by negligent Uber Driver:
These incidents NEVER would have occurred if the Wisconsin Legislature had not passed the 2015 Rideshare/TNC bills 106 (Senate) and 143 (Assembly).
BOTH drivers in each instance would NEVER have passed vetting that exists for Taxi companies under current legislation and regulations at the municipal level.
The current regulations for Rideshare/TNCs in Wisconsin not only allowed both drivers to have access to customers but it ENCOURAGES Rideshare/TNC companies such as Uber and Lyft to hire and provide services with uninsured, untrained and fraudulently contracted drivers.
Documents of proposed legislation: