Ride Sharing Regulation (2 Responses)

I understand that regulation of ride sharing services (such as Uber, Lyft, etc.) is currently being discussed at the state house. I have not heard as to whether the Senate, the House, or both are debating bills at this time.

I see ride sharing services as the way of the future, a networked approach (individuals provide a service, organized via a network), rather than a hierarchical one (i.e., owners, managers, drivers, arranged in a top-down hierarchy as bosses and employees).

The taxi industry is old fashioned and on its way out. It supplies drivers who do not speak American English fluently, don’t know where things are, and can’t tell you what a ride will cost until you get to the end of the trip. The fixed number of medallions and arcane rules based on municipal boundaries leaves passengers with long wait times, and drivers without good knowledge of the geography at their destination.

I wholly support this new method (ride sharing) that gives passengers much more information on who will be driving for them, the cost of the ride ahead of time, and a greater pool of drivers ready to serve them. I understand that there are ‘bugs’ to be worked out of the system – of course there are! This is a new idea and it’s gaining experience as it operates.

But I think any attempt to hamstring ride sharing to covertly benefit the taxi industry will result in a colossal failure and I strongly recommend against it. New, networked systems designed to provide services will win in the long run and will do better than old hierarchical organizations and businesses from now on. Putting onerous hurdles in the way of these new services will just drive ride sharing underground, but it will never go away. Eventually, it will triumph, so let’s move forward rather than backward (as sometimes we seem to do here in Massachusetts!). It’s high time that we ‘disrupted’ the taxi industry, and replaced it with new systems that better serve passengers and drivers alike.

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    Will Brownsberger
    State Senator
    2d Suffolk and Middlesex District