Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are facing the prospect of tighter regulation in California this year. At a hearing Wednesday, the companies got an earful from cab drivers and a state Senator.
The rules governing ride-hailing services are new, and limited, compared to the many local regulations that govern taxi companies and which vary from city to city.
Marco Soto of the Taxicab Paratransit Association of California said that’s more than unfair.
According to Soto, “If this continues, it’s only a matter of time before our industry goes out of business, because we continue to follow rules that keep us from competing.”
Senator Ben Hueso ran the hearing. He chairs the committee that oversees ride services and his family is in the taxi business. Last year, Hueso held back two bills supported by Uber and Lyft. He said he wanted to take a more comprehensive look at their regulations. At the hearing, he suggested the companies should share their smartphone technology with competitors.
“I don’t believe that it should be proprietary technology. It should be available to anyone else that wants to –any other companies that want to break into that market,” says Hueso.
John Doherty, of the trade organization TechNet, lobbies for ride-hailing services.
“I am concerned about the tenor and the track of questions from the chairman,” he says. “Are you like taxis? Why aren’t you like taxis? Shouldn’t you be doing things like taxis?”
Doherty says he supports more regulation for ride-hailing services, but any new rules should be appropriate for the new industry.