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Governor says licensing for ride-hailing services is coming

Discussion in 'Boston' started by Dreamer, Feb 5, 2015.

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  1. Dreamer

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    Staff Member

    Jan 19, 2015
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    Governor Charlie Baker said Wednesday that such ride-hailing services as Uber and Lyft can continue to operate in Massachusetts just as they currently do. For the moment.

    But new regulations could be coming in six months, by which time Baker plans to have developed a framework for issuing state licenses to companies that connect people in need of a ride with private motorists willing to shuttle them around for a fee.

    In a statement, Baker gave advocates and opponents little indication about how restrictive the oversight measures might be, leaving the ride-hailing industry’s future in Massachusetts uncertain, at a time when at least 17 major cities and four states have passed laws governing such transportation network companies.

    “Emerging transportation options such as Uber and Lyft present a real opportunity for our evolving transportation ecosystem to more efficiently serve residents and visitors to Massachusetts alike,” Baker said. “We also have a responsibility to step up to ensure consumer choice and public safety prevail.”

    Services such as Uber, which debuted in Boston in 2011, have been operating in a legal gray area. They assert taxi rules don’t apply because the companies do not employ drivers or own cars. Instead, their apps for smartphones and other mobile devices connect users to networks of independent drivers who use their own vehicles to take paying customers from point A to point B.

    Uber’s strategy has sometimes met fierce opposition, even in places known as bastions of high technology. In December, Portland, Ore., hit Uber with a cease-and- desist order. A day later, the district attorneys of San Francisco and Los Angeles sued the company for allegedly misleading customers about its driver-screening process.


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