The industries which were in support of more stringent regulations on app-based services like Uber and Lyft have finally been relieved as the new law passed by lawmakers worked in their favor. The reports have been confirmed by Scott Solombrino who is limousine executive and spokesperson for Ride Safe MA.
Scott who was once against the proposed House and Senate ride-for-hire laws shocked everyone with this remark. He was amoung the advocates who demanded tighter regulations such as fingerprint-based background checks on drivers. They believed that it would be better for the taxi industry and their newer competitors.
A state-run background check is included in the final bill which will be an additional check run by state other than the one Uber and Lyft’s own internal checks. It is noteworthy that Solombrino was neither in favour of the bill filed by Gov. Charlie Baker in 2015 nor the senate bill as they both had a similar system as the final bill passed by law-makers.
On Friday Solombrino commented in support of the background check measure as he believed that it would help enhance the safety measures. The system will help eliminate bad actors if there are any.
“The double background check is unbelievably efficient,” Solombrino said. “The state now has to do their own background check on [the companies’] background check.”
Other major systems which the bill will help implement will demand the display placards on cars, drivers will also have to pay commercial toll rates and they will also have to update personal vehicle insurers about their job as public driver. While both Uber and Lyft have both reacted positively about the bill, Solombrino is skeptic as he feels they might just be pretending while in reality they “are not happy with the bill.”
Other industry representatives Donna Blythe-Shaw expressed his with The Boston Globe that “there is just no way they can recover from this legislation.” Donna Blythe-Shaw is a former staff representative for the Taxi Drivers Association. While on other hand a lawyer representing taxicab companies in Boston and Cambridge, Jenifer Pinkham told that she is planning to sue the state to challenge the final law. Clearly, their voices do not match with Solombrino’s comments which seem rather in support of the law.
Solombrino said his group efforts are not over yet as it will press on the new law in January during the next legislative session. While praising the final law he suggested that he will still push for a requirement to add fingerprinting for the drivers working in transportation services.
“I also believe fingerprinting is coming,” he said. “This is not done. We’re not done with fingerprinting.”
According to him, all the lawyers will slog at the municipal level to make people aware about the regulations on cab industries. Since Uber and Lyft are now state run there are chances that cities and towns would prefer to give the cab companies the freedom over their fare rates, speculates Solombrino. Uber and Lyft already have this control. Cap groups demand that all rival services should operate by the same rules.
The final bill which passed last week gave Massachusetts Port Authority the freedom to decide whether they would like to have Uber and Lyft drivers to pick up passengers at Logan Airport. This way the airport gets authority to set its own regulations regarding the same. Uber and Lyft surely took a sigh of relief post this as House bill projected to ban Logan pickups for at least five years which in turn helped cabs and livery services get exclusive control at the airport. Massport suggested that it plans to be available for business with the drivers of these companies.
Nevertheless, Solombrino stated that since this stipulation will allow the cab and livery industries to lobby Massport as it sets the regulations, it is good for them.