Guidelines May Provide Legitimacy To California Ride-Share Programs

Posted on September 20, 2013

Ride-sharing services recently came under fire by taxi companies and safety advocates who were concerned that the drivers weren’t being put through the proper training procedures and that they lacked the qualifications to safely transport passengers.  Now, California is making a large stride toward ensuring the safety of such services.

Yesterday, the California Public Utilities Commission gave its approval to guidelines for these ride-sharing services to meet.  Companies like Uber and Lyft have expanded rapidly in an age dominated by apps and mobile devices.  Unlike a cab company, a ride-sharing service works by way of a person downloading a given app, pulling out their phone to see what drivers are in the area, and then “hailing” that person.

The new guidelines seek to make sure that process is safe.  Drivers would have to go through training in order to transport passengers, and they would also have to pass a criminal background check.  Alcohol and drugs would be unacceptable under the new guidelines, as would an amount of insurance less than $1 million.  Signage would need to be displayed on each vehicle stating its availability as a ride-sharing unit.

Finally, logs would need to be made by operators, and this information would no longer be kept private.  In such a way, it would be possible to see the driver’s track record of pick-ups and violations.

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