When regulating or deregulating a transportation industry be it air travel, boat, train, rideshare, limo, bus or Taxi, government bodies have often over stepped deregulation or insufficiently amended regulations.
The best example of the disaster that this can cause would be the recent city wide taxi deregulation in El Paso Texas which has left the citiy’s taxi providers in a market of complete chaos.
El Paso, like other cities and counties in the US that have recently deregulated taxis in an attempt to compete with rideshares, did not address the simple issues that keep safety and accountability in check.
To properly address the issues of accountability while maintaining profit for the company and a living wage for the driver, the formula is simple.
At Ride Safe we call it the ‘Rational Regulation Formula’.
1- Mandate fingerprint background checks for each driver with the same level of oversight as those conducted for bus drivers, security guards and police.
Record of these background check clearances should be included with a photo ID issued to be posted in the vehicle at all times of operation and also for public record with the assigned regulatory body.
Current municipal systems for taxi regulation in many cities require the local Police Department or a city motor vehicle inspection department to conduct this process.
Instead of eliminating these departments for a county or state wide dereguation process, they should be included as part of the vetting process with the regulator assigned in the new regulation process.
Proper fingerprint background checking eliminates the epidemic issue of drivers found to have criminal records which has plagued the Rideshare industry, as current regulations for the rideshare industry in states like Illinois, Delaware, Michigan and Wisconsin DO NOT require an actual substantiated background check on any ridehsare (Uber or Lyft) driver.
2- Mandate that ALL lease, insurance, warranty, loan or lein holders on any and all vehicles commercially operated must be notified in writing that the vehicle is being operated for commercial usage.
These records also to be publicly available with the assigned regulatory body.
A deregulation that takes vehicle usage notifications out of the realm of the DMV and DOT can expedite the process for commercial operators, however it has lead to a large number of vehicles that are not properly listed for their commercial use AFTER they are sold. Many lease and insurance providers have also been defrauded as vehicles being operated commercially as Rideshares, are not required to be listed on their registration records for commercial use.
3- Mandate that each vehicle must undergo a 16 point inspection no less than four times annually provided either by the regulatory body or at the driver and/or company cost. Record of this to be publicly available with the assigned regulatory body.
4- mandate that each vehicle must display on it’s front, sides and rear an assigned numeric permit sticker indicating compliance and status as a commercial for-hire vehicle for law customer confirmation, law enforcement compliance and verification.
Deregulations that allow vehicle marking to be removed or not required have lead to a large number of crimes committed in both the Taxi and Rideshare markets. A clear numberred marking indicates the vehicle’s assured vetting, insurance and LEGAL operating status as a for-hire vehicle.
5- Mandate that the insurance policy coverage offered by the individual or company CAN NOT be invalidated in any incident of BODILY HARM to the customer or other party struck by the for-hire vehicle by any contract or service usage agreement between the customer, driver and/or taxi company.
Currently all rideshare companies in the US as well as several deregulated taxi companies use usage agreements with their customers which invalidate proper insurance coverage.
Uninsured operations and fraudulent insurance loopholes create a significant cost to the general public in unpaid incidentals and damages.
It is often an issue with many forms of deregulation that a system of welfare arises from a lack of accountability required by the company and service providers (drivers).
6- Boundary lines
If an entire county or state area is deregulated, a system of boundaries should be established between cities. If a taxi company from one large city can suddenly operate state wide, they will move into other cities and begin a process of over saturating the market of another city until the local taxi companies of that city no longer profit.
This would serve to better expedite service during busy times, however it would also lead to a lack of effective wages for the drivers and leave the market far less served during slow times.
Local taxi company owners have a right to the market’s they have build and grown in.
Without an effective regulation for taxi providers to respect boundaries then there would be no premise or ability for any local company to remain in business if they were to be displaced by another company’s fleet from a different city.
Effects of deregulation for rideshares in Wisconsin.
After documenting the flaw in driver registration with Uber and several cases of drivers on the Uber platform with dangerous criminal records, driving dangerously and operating without proper insurance, Ride Safe submitted an official complaint to DSPS.
The summry of the DSPS complaint process and resulting communications and materials begin on page 20 of this document, submitted to the Wisconsin state Assembly by Ride Safe during a hearing to consider deregulation of the taxi industry in Wisconsin.
Not only did DSPS take over FOUR MONTHS to process this complaint but the department took no action.
Even after a letter was sent from Uber’s legal representatives making claims that contradict many items of the Wisconsin state law concerning Rideshare operations.
In the Document, Rasier’s legal representative G. Scott Binnings states:
1. Rasier does not allow prospective drivers to access the Uber app without required documents.
However the very next item that Mr. Binnings argues in the same document:
2. Rasier maintains insurance policies that cover activity on the Uber app in the amounts required by state law; these coverages are not premised on participating drivers’ obligations on their personal insurance policies or under leins.
Ride Safe had already proven that Uber accepted THREE separate falsified documents INCLUDING a falsified insurance and state DMV vehicle registration. The original documents and approval from Uber to operate on the app were included in the original complaint to DSPS which MR. Binning is addressing in his response letter.
Though Uber requires the submission of documents and claims insurance coverage, the liability and veracity of any and all claims and coverages can be invalidated not only by the liability scheme between Rasier LLC and Uber but also the contracting terms in the Uber Driver contract and customer usage agreement.
From the Uber customer usage agreement:
LIMITATION OF LIABILITY.
UBER SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING LOST PROFITS, LOST DATA, PERSONAL INJURY, OR PROPERTY DAMAGE RELATED TO, IN CONNECTION WITH, OR OTHERWISE RESULTING FROM ANY USE OF THE SERVICES, REGARDLESS OF THE NEGLIGENCE (EITHER ACTIVE, AFFIRMATIVE, SOLE, OR CONCURRENT) OF UBER, EVEN IF UBER HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.
Though clear communication with supporters of the Rideshare legislation in Wisconsin has been difficult, Ride Safe was able to have a conversation with a State senate staff member concerning insurance liabilities and fraud. This conversation was recorded after Ride Safe was invited on the Mich Henck show for an interview.
At time code 25:22 in this video, Mike Mikalsen, an assistant to Wisconsin State senator Stephen Nass claims that his office has validating documents that prove Uber and Lyft are responsibly handling insurance liability.