Anti-Uber Efforts Mostly Fizzling

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Peter Fricke Contributor
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While a growing number of state and municipal governments seek to regulate ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft, they have had limited success.

In some cases, ridesharing companies have come to the table to forge compromise regulations, and in others, they have offered resisted much more stubbornly.

The most recent example came with the passage of a compromise bill to regulate ridesharing in California. At issue were insurance requirements for ridesharing drivers during “idle periods,” which are times when drivers are available for service but are not actively transporting passengers.

According to the Los Angeles Times, several previous bills had stalled due to concerns from ridesharing companies, but they dropped their opposition to an amended form of AB 2293, “allowing it to breeze through the Assembly and the Senate.” (RELATED: California State Senator Arrested for Drunk Driving Hours After Voting for Anti-Uber Bill)

In nearby Arizona, AZ Central reports that Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill to legalize ridesharing in April because “it didn’t go far enough in terms of regulation.” However, without adequate enforcement mechanisms, ridesharing drivers are able to “roll down Arizona streets unlicensed and unregulated.”

Although Arizona law “requires anyone transporting people for hire to obtain a Weights and Measures license, commercial plates, and carry proof of insurance,” officials are finding it difficult to enforce, “because drivers use private cars and display little, if any, evidence of their business.”

In August, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn also vetoed legislation to regulate ridesharing, according to CBS, but for very different reasons. In a statement, Quinn said he vetoed the legislation “because it would have mandated a one-size-fits-all approach to a service that is best regulated at the local level.” (RELATED: Illinois Governor Vetoes Ridesharing Bills, Taxis Protest)

Uber strongly objected to the regulations, which would have required ridesharing drivers to carry commercial insurance and undergo criminal background checks, and circulated a petition among users to oppose them. The company’s efforts failed to sway the General Assembly, but both Quinn and his opponent in the 2014 gubernatorial election, Bruce Rauner, publicly opposed the legislation.

In Virginia, state officials announced in August that they had reached an agreement to grant Uber and Lyft operating authority in the commonwealth in exchange for compliance with several modest regulations. For about two months prior to that agreement, both companies had been operating illegally in Virginia, in defiance of a cease-and-desist order from the state. (RELATED: Virginia Lifts Ban on Ridesharing Companies Uber and Lyft)

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Peter Fricke