The big news over the past couple weeks has been about two CA bills titled AB 2293 and AB 612. There has been a lot of misinformation going around and I think the best way for you to understand the bills and figure out whether you support them or not is to actually read them. Obviously the taxi lobbyists are out there spewing out a lot of misinformation but the TNC’s have their own agendas too.
In my opinion, both sides are severely skewing the real issues at hand and while I think there will ultimately be some sort of compromise I get the feeling that drivers and passengers are ultimately going to be losers in this fight.
You can read the full text of the bills here:
AB 2293: Transportation network companies: insurance coverage – I like this bill because it’s short, simple and easy to read. Not a whole lot of that legal mumbo jumbo that takes a team of lawyers to decipher. This bill is pretty straightforward: it says that the TNC would be forced to provide primary insurance for drivers and insurance coverage would begin the moment a driver logs on to the app thus eliminating the insurance gap. That sounds great for drivers but it could come at a big cost. Since TNC’s are required to provide $1 million in liability insurance when a passenger is in the car, this bill would close ‘the insurance gap’ but it doesn’t reduce the amount of liability required.
The bill doesn’t explicitly state it but it appears that TNC’s would have to carry $1 million in liability during times when you have the app on but no passenger requests. Should you have to pay for commercial style insurance if you’re driving to the grocery store and you have your Lyft app on? I say the commercial type insurance should start once I’ve accepted a ride. And what about the scenario when I have all three apps (Lyft, Uber and Sidecar) on but no passenger requests? There’s a huge overlap there if all three companies are providing primary insurance.
Here’s a sanity check I stole from Beth on the Sidecar Garage: Should your homeowner’s insurance be invalidated the moment you post your home on Airbnb, even if no one ever stays at your home? Should Airbnb pay for 24/7 coverage on your home even if it is never booked, just because you are listed on their site?
I am against AB 2293 but with just a couple minor tweaks I would support it.
AB 612: Charter-party carriers of passengers: online-enabled application or platform – AB 612 is kind of a mess and difficult to decipher but it appears to add on lots of unwanted regulation, licensing and would require drivers to have company decals. It’s safe to say this bill is most definitely backed by taxi cabs, lawyers, insurance companies and pretty much everyone else that sucks in this world. The real problem with this bill though is that it would basically turn TNC’s into taxis. Why would we go back to a system that people don’t like and doesn’t work very well? TNC’s have risen in popularity due to the superior experience they provide, why mess up a good thing?
In the past year I’ve probably taken 75 Uber/Lyft rides and given 500+ rides. In all those instances, I haven’t had one bad experience. In the same time frame, I’ve taken 4 taxi rides (not by choice) and the first guy deliberately got us lost even though we told him where to go and the second guy gave us the bird after we ‘took to long’. Think that would ever happen with Lyft or Uber?
I am against AB 612.
Here are some other interesting articles I read this week:
Seattle mayor reaches deal to legalize Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, without driver limits – It’s pretty cool to see a city actually embracing TNC’s instead of figuring out ways to shut them down. Why can’t more cities be like Seattle?
Uber Isn’t Worth $17 Billion – One of my readers sent me this story the other day and it provides an interesting take on the valuation of Uber. All of these tech company valuations are predicated on some BIG assumptions and in this case it seems like the author just had some different assumptions than investors.
Video: Gryft, A Creepy Alternative to the Car Ride Service Lyft – This is a pretty funny parody video.
I also want to highlight a couple places that have been sending me some traffic this week, thanks guys!
UberPeople.net – A cool forum for Uber drivers.
Reddit – A subreddit for Uber drivers
Readers, what do you think about the two bills that are currently up in the CA senate? Are you for or against AB 2293 and AB 612?
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