Senate Bill on regulating Uber, Lyft, etc.

A working group led by the Senate Ways and Means Committee has spent weeks carefully vetting the options for regulating of Uber, Lyft and other “transportation network companies”. I played an active role in the process and fully support the bill that came out of the process. I believe that it will protect public safety without creating barriers to the expansion of TNCs.

I’ll summarize the main features of the bill — which I am all fine with — and one small area on which I’d appreciate feedback — a proposed requirement that companies allow tipping.

The bill does affirmatively regulate TNCs, creating a new division in the Department of Public Utilities. However, the new division will not directly regulate or register drivers or vehicles. Instead, it will require each TNC to seek a single statewide operating license, subject to annual renewal. The TNCs will have to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the division that they have adequate procedures in place to vet and insure drivers.

The bill recognizes that modern vetting techniques that consult many data sources and triangulate to produce a complete personal history are superior to old-fashioned fingerprint checks based on a single database. TNCs must show that they are using sophisticated vetting approaches and the DPU is required to annually audit them. The bill does put in place basic driver standards — must be over 21, must not have had a major criminal offense in the past 7 years, must not have too many traffic violations, may not be a registered sex offender.

The bill requires that TNCs make sure that their drivers are fully covered by insurance. TNC drivers use their own vehicles, so, of course, the vehicle must be insured for personal or livery use under existing law. But, in addition, the bill requires that TNC drivers have a policy that covers the period when they have the “app” on, but are not actually going to a call or carrying a rider. The TNC will have the option of either providing that insurance on an umbrella basis or requiring that drivers prove that their personal policy will cover that situation at the $100,000 level. Once the driver actually has connected with a rider and is traveling to a pick up point or is carrying the rider, then the TNC is required to maintain a policy providing up to $1 million per occurrence.

It is worth noting in passing that under these rules, TNC drivers will be carrying much more insurance than taxis do. Taxis are typically insured at the current minimum commercial level — $40,000 — and are typically owned by corporate shells that insulate their ultimate owners from any greater liability.

The bill includes no limitations on the operating area of TNCs — under the Senate approach, TNCs will remain free to serve Logan and the Convention Center. The bill includes no bail out for taxi medallion holders. Some have suggested that because Boston medallions were sold roughly fifteen years ago to help support the Convention Center construction, the state has some obligation to medallion holders. In truth, those medallions were priced based on expectations of earning potential. For most of the last 15 years, the earning potential of those medallions has exceeded expectations — values soared from $200,000 to $700,000, reflecting strong earnings. Even if these medallions ultimately plunge to zero (which they have not and will not — they are still above $200,000 in the market place), original purchasers will still have made good money. The most passionate advocates for bailout are specialized lenders who made bad loans.

The bill does give cities and towns a ten-cent-per-ride revenue stream from which they can make whatever investments they need to support transportation and it does not prevent them from using that very modest fund to give medallion holders some help if they so wish.

Just one small feature I’m a little queasy about. The bill requires TNCs to build a tipping feature into their app and allow drivers to accept tips. As a former restaurant worker, I personally tip generously in restaurants and barber shops. But the real consequence of allowing tips is that drivers will get paid less per ride by the TNCs, just as restaurant workers get low hourly wages. The market for drivers is competitive. If drivers want to work for a company that builds tipping into its system, they can do so (Lyft does allow tips). If drivers feel they can make more money with less interpersonal hassle at a company that doesn’t encourage tips, they should be able to do that.

Based on the dialog we’ve already had on this website and on the vetting I’ve been part of, I’m fully committed to the rest of the bill, but would welcome your input on the tipping issue.

Update on June 29

The Senate did debate and pass the legislation today. Based on the input received here, I did offer an amendment striking the tipping language. It was adopted. Your comments here make a difference — it was helpful for me to be able to talk about the strong majority view among my constituents that the tipping decision should be left to the businesses, not legislated.

The other significant change in the bill was to require the oversight division to do some kind of backup background checking in addition to the background checking by the company. I didn’t support that, but it is not too big a deal, as long as drivers can start driving after the initial check is done by the company. The bill now will go to a House-Senate conference committee.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

147 replies on “Senate Bill on regulating Uber, Lyft, etc.”

  1. Drivers already make good money and a big plus about Lyft and Uber is that you DONT HAVE TO TIP! There are already plenty of drivers so that isn’t an issue.

  2. Requiring tipping capabilities should not be a prerequisite. The rest of the conditions are based on public safety and clearly are places for legislation.
    As you state, there’s companies that will allow this and some that won’t, that’s part of the free-market.Let the market decide this one.

  3. I agree with you on the tipping issue. I don’t like that American wait staff are be taken advantage of in regards to hourly wages, just because they can make tips. Lets give them the option of tipping, but not require it.

  4. I do not see any reason for tipping to be part of the bill. Let each company deal with tipping as it wants. As you said — it should be up to the driver and the rider to choose the company it wants if tipping is part of the deal.

  5. From where I am sitting, it seems like a horrible, horrible idea to legislate that the companies are required to allow passengers to tip. It seems like unnecessary government meddling at its worst in the free market, and I say that as a liberal who is completely, entirely happy to have the government meddling in the market when it is beneficial for it to do so.

    What is the problem that this piece of the law is intended to remedy? What is so bad about letting the companies determine their own business models — including deciding whether tipping is allowed — that whoever wrote this clause into the law feels it necessary for the government to step in and say, “Nope, sorry, you can’t do this”?

    There needs to be a compelling interest. If you can convince me that there is a compelling interest, then I will reconsider my position, but having read what you wrote above, I don’t see a single word even attempting to explain what the compelling interest is that justifies requiring the companies to allow tipping.

    Can you explain?

    1. Forget compelling. I’m not even sure I see a rational state interest.

      Does this set a floor under earnings, like a minimum wage, or equalize bargaining power, like collective bargaining rights? No? How about providing transparency, or protecting patrons of a common carrier from risks they cannot evaluate on their own, like lack of insurance or shoddy brakes? Still no?

      Then leave it alone. Obviously some people on Beacon Hill think it’s nice to tip. I’m sure they have lots and lots of ideas about many businesses. We all do. That doesn’t mean we get to bumble aimlessly through the economy telling businesses whose models we don’t even understand, “You oughtta do this.”

      You know, there are lots of problems with the digital serfs economy. But so far, most of the solutions have been poorly thought out and don’t go to the root of the issue. Instead, many of the regulations have just been gimmes to competitors who are afraid of new players. Let’s try to do better here. How about a state law prohibiting companies from forbidding employees or contractors to discuss salaries, wages or payments? That would do a lot more to even out the playing field.

      1. I love this comment and totally agree with what you’ve written.

        I suspect that the origin of this attempt to require the companies to allow tipping is a misguided effort to “even the playing field” between TNCs and taxicabs.

        Forget that.

        The playing field is not even, and there is no way it is going to be even. TNCs are a disruptive technology. The taxi business is going to be disrupted. Live with it.

        You think this is disruptive? Just wait until Google’s fleet of driverless cars is shuttling people from place to place. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

        I see no legitimate reason for the government to interfere with the TNCs’ business model in this way.

  6. Uber and Lyft are remarkable assets to both partygoers who can drink and not have to worry about driving home.
    Seniors who can no longer drive, and us baby boomers who want to go into town for an evening but don’t want to pay high parking fees. It also keeps traffic down
    I have never had a bad experience.
    These people are working hard to make ends meet, or are retired and need the extra cash.
    Every car I have ever entered is immaculate, with friendly warm and wonderful drivers who share their life stories. It is an inspiration to use these services.
    I always tip between $3-5 for a short ride. $10 going to the airport. I get tremendous appreciation and thank you’s for this pleasure something that I never experienced with taxi’s in Boston. Tipping is a nice way to say thank you and giving back for an appreciated worker. ABSOLUTELY TIP

  7. Sounds like there are pros and cons to allowing tipping. I’d say let the market take care of this: drivers who want tips and are willing to take lower wages can drive for Lyft. Drivers who want the higher rate and are willing to give up tips in return can drive for Uber. It doesn’t sound like a legislative solution is needed on this issue.

  8. I quite enjoy riding with Uber and not be expected to tip for the service. One of the great features of the service is that there is no expectations for tipping.

  9. I share your queasiness.

    I fear unintended consequences from a requirement of tipping. Many already tip with cash knowing that the operator will get a flat rate from the company (that protects their profit).

    If tipping is required, companies will reduce the amount paid. The operator will not benefit.

    Best to leave well enough alone.

    1. Ideas like this are the very heart and soul of neoliberalism.

      They’re effective at virtue signaling. Their practical effect is quite different.

      Take Cambridge’s hilarious ban on bags. So, so good for the environment. Except stores still give out bags. The only effect is transfer the cost of the bags from the company directly to the consumer, at the cost of ten cents a pop.

      Same here. Require tipping, and all you’re doing is transferring part of the burden of the driver’s pay from the company directly to the rider.

      But it feels so, so good.

  10. If a customer wants to tip for
    good or exceptional service they can
    use cash and who is to know?
    Bill K

  11. It should not be a requirement that the company allow tipping on their app. Let the market determine what they offer. Don’t regulate it.

  12. Hi Will,
    I’m excited about this bill and like you have no problem with tipping drivers, but his is a tricky one. Most people like to tip. Like you, I’m generous, but there are those who are frankly cheap – possibly making for some disgruntlement and in the end the drivers dependent on tips.
    Thanks for asking for feedback!

  13. Will –

    I strongly agree with you on the tipping — it should not be mandated. This is a business decision, not an issue of protecting the health and safety of the public and the drivers. The bill should focus on the later.


  14. There should not be a requirement in the bill that TNCs include a tipping feature. If the company wants to have that feature, fine. This is a reasonably free market and they should be able to make a choice about that. I don’t understand the state’s interest in compelling companies to do so.

    Personally, I’d prefer that drivers (Uber or taxi, and restaurant works and others who rely on tips) be paid a fair wage (i.e., never below the minimum wage for everyone else) and not require tips to make a living. It can be such an awkward encounter and puts the livelihood of these workers in the hands of people with various (and legitimate) attitudes about tipping and what constitutes good service.

    Before this legislation, I didn’t even know Uber drivers could accept tips–I thought the whole point was the price was the price and you just open the door at your destination and get out.

  15. If uber or others take a reasonable cut from the drivers fee — 25? 35? Percent — and the drivers get the rest of the money than I think not tipping is fine. I like the idea of drivers having a choice as long as they aren’t being taken advantage of

  16. I still use Taxis if I really need go somewhere where the T does not work for me. And I do not have a smartphone nor want one. So perhaps my opinion is irrelevant. But, just to point out, there is no guarantee in future, perhaps near future, more than Lyft & Uber will be in the market. And the marketplace can always decide (i.e. would be drivers) which Company is best for earning. So perhaps in-bedding tips NOW will take away battles of low wages vs tips, or higher wages vs no tips.If all are equal in this category then what should guide the market, BEST SERVICE, will naturally take over. I’d say requiring tips in the Aps is best policy given this.

  17. Hi Will,
    With regards to the tipping feature, I’d say this is not only unnecessary, but actually counter-productive. As you have noted, more tips generally means less base pay. The idea of tipping is itself antiquated, so let the market sort this out and remove any requirements in this regard from the bill.

  18. Hi Will-

    I don’t think that companies should be required to build a tipping feature. It is a business decision -riders and drivers can choose their preferred model.


  19. Tipping has been part of the Taxi and Limousine industry for as long as I can think. Nothing wrong with allowing tipping. However, it should be up to the driver.

  20. I recommend NO required tipping feature. If the TNC wants to build that feature into its app, that’s fine. If not, that’s also fine. Then the drivers can decide what type of TNC they want to work for.

  21. I don’t like the idea of tips on uber or lyft. One of the best features of these services is the cashless transaction.
    They should provide excellent service not for a tip but for pride and self respect for the job.
    I would not include this item.
    Joel M. Shaw

  22. Isn’t this squarely a private matter between a company and its workers? In what other industry does the government ever require a tipping regime? This seems invasive, and irrelevant to any issue of public importance.

  23. TTipping can be stressful, for all but espcially for women. I personally find iit a relief to avoid the tip calculation aand the want is a “good tip” vs a “bad ttip” kenundrum. The feedback loop ensures good service so very happy to kkeep tips out of the legislatI’ve process (should we be governing this at all??).

  24. It is my opinion that a company should NOT be required to build a tipping feature into their app/platform/business plan. If a TNC wants to accept tips as a part of their platform, that is all well & good. But it should not be a requirement.

  25. Hi Will,

    I’m against the tipping requirement. I think the market will sort out the best way of compensating drivers. Most drivers I talk to drive for both uber and lyft and say that their compensation is about the same on both of them. I think it adds unnecessary variability to the driver’s pay for an evening. If a driver happens to pick up a couple bad customers for a night, he/she could end up making substantially less. I think giving the drivers the choice of whether they want to use the tipping system (lyft) or a non-tipping system (uber) is the best choice.

    I also don’t see what there is to be gained by requiring tipping. Is the concern that without tips, drivers won’t give the best service? that seems silly because a few bad ratings and they’ll get fired. if the concern is that drivers aren’t paid enough, I don’t think that adding tipping will change driver income since the incomes are the same between the two current tipping and non-tipping systems

  26. Why is everyone afraid of fingerprints. It should be one part of the vetting process. It’s simple and can be challenged if someone feels it is wrong.

    As to tipping, why not let the companies and the drivers work that out!

    1. The negative with fingerprints is that it means potential drivers have to go to some official place and get printed, and then wait for the government bureaucracy to process the prints. We don’t really have the physical capacity to do that on a quick turnaround basis. It would create a barrier to entry for part-time drivers.

  27. If there is a general social/governmental interest here, it is not in requiring that companies providing such services Permit tipping, but in Prohibiting them from creating an expectation of tipping by building a tipping function into their app. Fifty years ago, when modern values held sway, this would have been obvious, a matter of course. That this perspective has not been suggested in the many previous comments, which are, overwhelmingly, emphatic assertions of neoliberal ideology, is a striking indication that the modern conception of the dignity of labor is now foreign to our thinking.

  28. I have used Uber and happy that I do not have to open my wallet/purse for safety purposes, etc. The beauty originally about Uber was that the fair was substantially cheaper. I prefer no tipping otherwise what would be the difference with taxi tipping.

  29. I think tipping will be a problem, the idea uber was build on is that you get in and out of the car without to have to pay anything and to be much less costly than the expensive taxis with all their hidden fees including tipping, and to include the tip on the credit will likely result that most of the people wit just too tip nothing since they already left the car. I think the system now is fine, having more regulation will just bring us back.

  30. No tipping is not ne of the better features of Uber. If this policy is stopped I will not use Uber.

  31. As a consumer I much prefer the less hassle, all included or service compris approach found in countries from Europe to Asia rather than the tipping expectation/obligation in the US and UK. You can always add a bit more in cash for exceptional service. And since drivers are 21 or over with cars, they should be reasonably compensated without having to rely on the very variable behavior of different customers.

    1. For Uber, specifically, they have implemented a 6th star program, where a rider can provide all the glory towards a driver who went over and beyond for a $500 cash prize!

  32. My main concern with the bill is that this annual fee will be a massive amount which will lead to exactly what got us into this issue with cabs in the first place. A small group of people or companies controlling the entire market and not allowing any competition to enter. This is what drove people out of cabs and into uber and cannot be allowed to happen again. It lets those in control set whatever price or standard they want for services as no one can compete with them. in regards to tipping i agree with you in that i do not think it should be included as the companies will pay workers less instead of working how it is intended. People can always give cash tips as they do now if they want.

    1. The only fee specified in the bill is 10 cents per ride. There is an additional unspecified fee to fund the operations of the DPU oversight division, but since that division is not processing individual drivers or vehicles, it will remain a small bureaucracy. It will also be at the pennies per ride level.

  33. I agree with this:

    If drivers feel they can make more money with less interpersonal hassle at a company that doesn’t allow tips, they should be able to do that.

  34. Senator, once again, we thank you for you commitment to serving the Commonwealth. I wish we could be helpful on this question. Like yourself, we tip generously at restaurants. However, there are restaurants that are sharing the server’s tips with the cooks. Another matter is just how much does a server get, all of my tip or does the server share with other servers. That is not then a real tip as we used to know it.

    David & Teni Patterson

  35. I strongly recommend that tipping is permitted for TNC drivers. As a driver myself I provide my riders with chargers for there cell phones they truly appreciate that service I also provide water and gum. They can plug their phones into my speaker system and listen to their own music. This is aa big deal for many of the younger riders. Tipping is a way for the rider to show their appreciation. With the cost of gas up to $2.45 a gallon and the cost of up keep tips help to defray the cost. If the companies reduce the fares then they will lose drivers. Riders are important but with no drivers there is no business. The companies need to continue to hire more independent drivers to satisfy the riders. One night think that there are plenty of drivers in Boston. That may be true but the surrounding areas are under served. You and I have met and you are a visionary, this business is the difference of my living on a small social security check and having to rely on other services just to get by of being to pay for an apartment with no assistance, buy healthy food and rely on charity and food that is not suited for someone with sugar and weight issues. Tips are at the discretion of the rider there is much incentive for drivers to perform above and beyond. Why do you think the riders prefer the TNC s over taxi’s that overcharge, refuse to take credit cards and try getting out of a cab without tipping the driver.

    1. If you want passengers to be able to tip you, then drive for a TNC that allows that. There are some that do and some that don’t, so market forces are already handling this issue just fine, so there is no need for the government to involve itself. Since there is no need, it shouldn’t; it’s just that simple.

  36. I understand your qualms about forcing tips on the TNCs and I believe that you are correct. I think that forcing tips is not in the drivers best interests, and that the TNCs will advantage of them more than they already are.

    I urge you to oppose the forcing of tips into the apps and explain your reasoning to your fellow Senators.

  37. Hi Will,

    I am very much in favor of TNCs being able to be part of the Massachusetts marketplace. As a rider for my over 15-year career, I became disenchanted with taxis years ago as I waited in long lines to be picked up at Logan or at my home, waiting for a taxi company to answer my call. Uber arrived and I feel like I am finally in a civilized world where the drivers and their vehicles are pleasant and the entire experience is based upon the TNC doing its best – instead of feeling like a burden. Hurray!

    You asked for feedback on the tips: I agree wholeheartedly with you. Like you, I have (many years ago) worked for tips. When I call a driver to bring me from point A to point B, and I am allowed to offer a tip (like in a taxi), that amount is driven by my fee for the trip, which is driven by demand at that time, which I think would be unreasonable and unfair to correlate to a driver’s performance. In addition to the points you made, I think safety would be a big issue. If savvy riders know that the tips are flowing through the app, they would generously pay cash for tips to help the driver avoid tax implications; this increases the amount of cash on hand and makes Uber drivers sitting ducks for robberies.

    Finally, YAY for a town tax that can be generated for TNCs operating in our towns. While I am all for less taxation, I do know that one wealthy, but hesitant to pull out their wallet town, doesn’t like the idea of the sharing economy in its backyard. This will help my town in overcoming the hurdle of opposition to this new, nicer way to live in an urban community that strives for suburbia.

    Thank you for your work on this!



  38. I agree — tipping should be up to the company, and should not be mandated as a matter of public policy.

  39. Will,

    I use Lyft occasionally, but have never used Uber. I personally like to tip, and many of the Lyft drivers work for both companies and seem to prefer the tip option in my discussions with them. We tip conventional taxi drivers, of course. Short of having an economy where all service workers get something resembling a living wage, I would prefer to tip. I tip when I travel abroad, though at much lover levels. I have always thought the waiter, taxi driver, water ferry driver, what have you enjoyed the validation of knowing they did a good job.

    Mike COllins

  40. Tipping makes no sense to me if it is the standard and then leads to lower wages. I do not support its inclusion in the bill. The current system for payment with or without tips at the discretion of the company works perfectly well.

  41. It makes no sense to me that government should be involved in whether or not a private business allows/promotes/encourages/forbids tipping. Let the company, drivers, and customers figure this out.

  42. We now use Lyft, having switched from Uber. One of the reasons for the switch is that Lyft allows us to add a tip for the driver. We set the tip amount and rate the driver in response to a cell phone text from Lyft and the tip is added before the card is charged. No money changes hands in the car and we increase the tip percentage for a good experience or a short ride. With Uber this was not a choice and we assumed that the driver automatically received a tip but learned that this wasn’t so. When we do take an Uber we now hand the driver a tip in cash, but it seems that Uber is trying to make their fares seem more competitive at the expense of the drivers.

    Almost all the Lyft drivers are also Uber drivers but always look for Lyft customers first. I don’t know if/how Lyft penalizes the drivers with their tipping option but we have never heard complaints from them. But Lyft still seems a better deal than Uber and the drivers prefer it as well. I would prefer that Uber switch to the Lyft method. By the way, Flywheel also includes a tip for the driver. (Flywheel is a commercial taxi-based service and does not have surge pricing.) The bottom line is that if the tipping policy is transparent, I make the choice myself so I hesitate to say this should be required by law.

  43. Requiring tipping specifically in this industry seems rather arbitrary. What exactly is the state/public interest in requiring tips specifically for TNCs? There’s no law on the books that require any other type of employer to allow tipping. In fact, the SJC ruled last year that current tipping laws don’t prevent employers from instituting no-tipping policies.

    The question for me is two-fold. 1) What is the public interest in requiring tips be allowed, and 2) why specifically TNCs as opposed to any other service industry? It seems rather unfair to single out this industry in particular. If tipping laws are to be re-considered, it should be looked at more broadly and not specifically targeted at one industry.

  44. I agree with your position on the bill as a whole, and your implied position re tipping. The TNCs will almost surely, in effect, evolve the structure of driver compensation so that they secure most of the tip revenue. Moreover, since drivers rate passengers, many passengers are likely to feel that the tips are mandatory. Given the uncertainties,and the fact that drivers can opt for Lyft or a taxi company if they wish, government should probably avoid mandating anything.

  45. Allowing tipping is a slippery slope. It opens the door to exploitation by the company via lower pay rates and possibly extortion by drivers.

  46. as a former waitress, etc, I agree with NOT forcing the tipping option on all TNCs-

  47. I think they already “allow” tips; it’s not prohibited. I don’t like it. It implies that such workers can’t be trusted to do a decent job unless their money is withheld and doled out on the spot to motivate them. And I agree with you — tipping as a part of the fare will only drive down base pay. I’d like to stop restaurant tipping! Pay them prevailing/living wages, and reflect that in the menu price, and that’s that. I think that’s how it works in Europe.


    I agree this should be taken out of the bill and that companies should decide if they want to allow tips or not.

    I also don’t understand the purpose of the 10c per ride revenue to the city.

  49. I strongly support being allowed to include a tip to the uber driver through the uber app, which would not make tipping mandatory. The benefit of uber is not having to carry cash or use a credit card and deal with the usual swiping and figuring out the user interface. I have used uber many times in many cities. I would be happy to tip the driver on the app on my phone, which can be done after one is out of the car and being asked to rate the driver. I don’t see why being able to tip a driver would impact the rate the company pays the drivers.

  50. Tipping doesn’t seem regulation-worthy. Let the companies approach this how they see fit. If you require tipping, then they will just reduce salaries.

  51. If the UBER basic cost was higher, i.e. paying the drivers more per ride, why not eliminate tipping? Given that the drivers can rate their customers, it is likely based on the generosity of the tip. Far better to pay more to start with, and get rid of tipping, as in much of Europe.

  52. I am glad TNCs are now regulated. I think the Taxi coverage of $40K is absurdly low. I think the taxi medallion owners should pickup up the tab for a higher coverage to what the TNCs will be required. The taxi industry is a license to print money

  53. I shade your reluctance regarding tipping. The drivers will get less per ride. I agree this is what happened to restaurant workers when my daughter was a waitress.

  54. I like Uber’s no tip policy. It means that the driver is earning more up front, all the more reason to not tip. Tipping is a hassle. The state should not require companies to tip.

  55. Tipping should not be regulated, its inclusion or exclusion should be the subject of the service provider’s business model. If tipping is in fact a better model for both driver and customers we will see this happen naturally.

    In general we in the US rely to heavily on tipping where proper wages would be better, but that is really irrelevant to whether it should be government regulated. A concept I find very odd.

  56. The problem with allowing tipping is that you will now get bad if you do not tip 20%. What was nice about no tipping is that it was seamless no matter what country you went to and the same for foreigners visiting Mass. I rather they pay the drivers more and charge us a little more than change the model.

  57. I completely agree with your comments in otalics. Not sure why the public sector feels the need to tinker with a successful business model that’s attracted drivers and riders at an exponential rate.

  58. The bill looks good to me, however if the TNC will not cover the $100,000 insurance when the app is on, but no passenger, the cost of the insurance will put a lot of part time drivers out of work. Due to health reasons, I can only drive part time, so I’d be out of a job.

  59. It seems to me that tipping is a decision made by the customer, between the river and the customer. What right does the company have to forbid or for that matter, require it.

    1. Whether or not passengers are allowed to give drivers tips is not at issue here.

      I can’t speak for every TNC, but Uber, the biggest one, which doesn’t support tipping in its app, does allow passengers to tip. From

      You understand and agree that, while you are free to provide additional payment as a gratuity to any Third Party Provider who provides you with services or goods obtained through the Service, you are under no obligation to do so. Gratuities are voluntary.

      Furthermore, as far as I can tell, the driver contract with Uber does not prohibit drivers from asking for tips, though given the no-tipping culture that Uber has promulgated, I have to assume that drivers who ask for tips outright would get low ratings from passengers and this would impact their success with the company.

      Given that passengers are allowed to tip and drivers are not prohibited from asking for tips (though that might not be such a good idea), at issue here is only whether it is reasonable for state law to require Uber and other TNC’s to accept tips through its app on behalf of drivers.

      I’ve yet to see any rationale for a compelling state interest in such a requirement.

  60. No tipping. A big difference between TNC and conventional cab transport is that TNC drivers rate their passengers. This is a good feature because customers who behave badly are so identified and can be rejected by future TNC providers. However, customers who choose not to tip can also expect to receive poor marks from drivers (and many TNC riders love the fact payment is done separately and is not part of the ride experience.)

  61. The reason I love Uber is that you don’t have to tip! I always find the negotiation of a tip uncomfortable and it is so nice not to have to deal with it. I also have my kids use Uber and like that they do not have to deal with giving a tip. I prefer to have the tip wrapped into the fee paid to the driver than have it be an optional extra.

  62. My view is that services like Lyft and Uber are offering a useful service that is being used by many people. The intrenched interests of the Taxi community have a vested interest to block this innovation.

    However, taxis have not innovated their service. They are not focused on service and the fixed commissions are too high.

    This is totally counter to someone in government, but your best response is to do nothing.

    Tom Woodhouse

  63. This bill seems to address some of the problems, but it does not address the inequities between the taxi owners and these TNCs. You say the owners did well in the past, but now they will be out of luck, and out of jobs. There are small owners who work full time as drivers, and taxi drivers who do the same. They are struggling to stay afloat. Why can’t regulations put equal requirements on TNCs so they will compete on a flat playing field?

    1. Ironically, from what I hear from taxi advocates, if we required them to provide the same insurance levels that we are requiring from the TNCs, it would put the taxis out of business. The taxi business model is a very flawed business model.

  64. Whenever an Uber driver goes above and beyond the call I do tip them. And generously. And they know why I am doing it. Nothing about this system seems broken to me.

  65. Let’s see. We’re laying off teachers at the University of Massachusetts campuses so we can pay administrators for sick days they didn’t take, there are herds of political hacks triple and quadruple dipping in no-show jobs, and the regional transit system nothing but an unfunded pension plan so we decide to spend the time of our elected representatives on tipping Uber drivers?

    Will, this is Roman games. Distract the voters with trivia like this so they won’t notice the financial black hole in the middle of the room that is going to bring the whole begger-thy-neighbor governmental Ponzi scheme crashing down.

    Anyway, I don’t understand the issue. I always tip my Uber driver (well, almost always) and I haven’t once gotten a cease-and-desist letter from a Uber lawyer. (Of course, now I probably will.)

    Cheers, Scott

    1. Give me a break, Scott. We’ve spent weeks putting together a serious bill on TNCs — they are a major feature of our transportation system and getting it right matters. The tipping thing is a detail, I agree, but, as you can see from the response, it is one that people care about.

      We are also spending a lot of time getting the budget right, but that is a hard thing for people to react to specifically — will report further on that shortly.

  66. I think people should earn based on the service they give. The price asked should include all service fees and tips. Their pay should reflect their customer satisfaction. Tax collecting is better that way.

  67. I’m fine with allowing tipping. Not sure why it needs to be legislated.

  68. I agree that integrated tipping should not be required.

    Uber and Lyft and the rest correctly identified an over-regulated industry that could, and should, be turned upside down. We should not repeat the mistakes we’ve made with taxi regulations. If someone builds a better system – tip or no tip – let them.

  69. I think that it is very problematic to permit Uber to serve Logan, in that there is very limited capacity in the tunnels which access the airport, and in the roadway systems at Logan. The airport provides cabs who bring a passenger to Logan to get into the taxi pool to provide service out of Logan, to reduce the amount of empty trips causing further congestion. This current practice excludes cabs from Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline, which seems unfair, and precludes some better efficiency. And it might be reasonable to expand the privilege to the other cabs. It seems difficult to allow Uber the same access because there is finite capacity in the system, and no apparent lack of service to provide access to the region from Logan. It is not clear how to require Uber drivers to behave in compliance with airport rules, and prohibit drivers from refusing service to minority neighborhoods, or bargaining for different fares,without exacerbating the spacial problems at Logan. Uber drivers seem to be an enforcement problem, and often block bus stops, without an apparent effective means to enforce rules of behaviour. I think that the Logan access issue needs more consideration.Massport should be required to study this issue and make recommendations for public consideration, prior to passing the legislation.

    1. Fred,
      I am sympathetic to the Logan (over)use concern and respect your knowledge of the situation. Perhaps the TNCs can take advantage of the same pick up spots provided to private livery companies? I do not know if this uses incurs a fee or license but if so, same could be required of Uber Lyft etal to operate at Logan.

    2. Fred, Massport can regulate Massport and does — they only let in Uber drivers with livery plates. The fact is that taxi service is often very poor at Logan and if you banned Uber from Logan, it would be a disaster for passengers.

      On another point, Uber is doing a much better serving minority neighborhoods than taxi drivers ever did. I’ve gotten that feedback directly from residents of those neighborhoods.

  70. The Federal judge stated very clearly that Taxi and TNC are providing a similar services and should be treated in similar manner.
    This senate proposal doesn’t worth the paper it is printed on.
    I am extremely disappointed in the way you personally and other senators approached the entire situation.
    You created a complete anarchy out of the transportation system in the city of Boston with “gypsy cabs” and multiple other unlawful operators driving around. You created a system that is waiting for something really bad to happened (like another 9/11 or Boston Marathon or UBER unregistered and without license sex offender driving women in Boston – most recent Fox 25 investigation).
    I will never allow my children to use this service and you personally lost my vote.
    The point that you are asking opinion about tips shows how little you really know about transportation business and you are spending valuable senator time on such an issues versus really getting to understand the transportation.

  71. Tipping seems to be creeping into more and more areas of life, and it’s not a good thing. I don’t see why the state should be involved in it, especially not to the extent of requiring an app to include it. The state should be concerned with whether workers get a decent wage.

  72. Dear Will,

    I am with you on this. As a former waitress my first reaction was “Tips, yes!” But not knowing that some drivers would be adversely affected coloured my response. I don’t use Uber myself but think each company should be allowed to continue with policies towards tipping that they already have in place.

  73. Will, Thank you for sharing this information and for taking your usual thorough and thoughtful approach to this matter. I am glad to learn that the legislature is developing a comprehensive set of regulations for the TNCs and I fully support this both as an obvious necessity, given the growth of the market, and as a way of promoting the public good with regard to this significant and valuable service.

    My view is that the scope of these regulations should be limited to providing for public safety and ensuring that customers are treated fairly. I am not a libertarian in most matters, but the growth of TNCs reflects the powerful and somewhat unpredictable effect of a confluence of innovations and technologies and I do not think the government should attempt to control or direct this particular market very much at this time. Traditional taxi companies and drivers may be at somewhat of a disadvantage at this time, but it should not be the government’s role to protect such businesses any more than it does so when other markets change or new products are introduced.

    For this reason, I see no reason why statewide regulations should require something as specific as a tipping option in the design of the software that is used to connect TNCs and their customers. If a tipping option is beneficial to the businesses and/or provides some competitive advantages, it will be added. There is no need for the government to require that. And I agree with you that allowing or even requiring tipping (as happens in restaurants) often actually distorts the incomes of employees, shifting costs from employers to customers and making the actual cost structure of the product (in this case transportation) opaque and difficult for customers to understand. There are a few cases in which a tip may contribute to better customer service, but I am not convinced that transportation such as TNCs or taxis provide is such a case. Overall, government should promote transparency in commercial transactions rather than prevent it, and in my view, tipping does not contribute to such transparency.

    Rather than offering a tipping option, TNCs should ensure that their drivers receive a fare payment and drivers should choose the companies they work for based on the payment that they expect to receive.

    For this reason, I do not support having any requirement that TNCs provide a tipping option in their apps.

  74. i think a built in gratuity would be best, say 20% but an option to negate if there is poor service or bad driving.

  75. Will,

    In general I am pleased to see your support of the bill and encourage you to let the marketplace sort out the tipping policy rather than have state interference.
    That said, two comments.
    One I am struck by the seven year no criminal offense rule in light of moves to have criminal offenses not reveled in the hiring and college application processes. If the offense was a violent crime, I can understand the wait period but what about a youth drug possession or white collar crime?
    This needs more thought as does my second concern, the insurance difference. As a consumer of THCs, I like the additional mandated protection and suggest this tips the scales to THCs given Taxi company’s meager protection and corporate shield. Perhaps the Senate should level the playing field and require Taxi company to have similar protection to TNCs.

    1. Jim, here is the language on criminal record.

      (vii) has not had a conviction in the past 7 years for: (1) a sex offense or violent crime as defined in section 133E of chapter 127 [violent enough to yield a sentence of one year or more of imprisonment]; (2) a crime under section 24 of chapter 90 [drunk driving] or been assigned to an alcohol or controlled substance education, treatment or rehabilitation program by a court; (3) leaving the scene of property damage or personal injury caused by a motor vehicle; (4) felony robbery; or (5) felony fraud;

      I’m not at all a fan of limiting the ways that people who have made mistakes can live, but I’ve chosen not to quibble with this definition in the context of this bill — my priority in this legislation is to keep the regulation burden from becoming excessive and strangling an important new industry.

  76. Creating a tipping aspect allows for a non-livable wage. No tipping and maintain a wage that is viable for the driver

  77. Tipping should be allowed, with a clause that it is TOTALLY optional.
    Also, tipping history must be banned from sharing in client records (otherwise – who would pick a passenger who’s known not to tip?).

    1. Of course drivers will rate passengers based on their tipping. There’s no way to stop them.

  78. Hi Will:

    As an avid user of Uber and Lyft while on vacation, I always tip. It’s easier to tip with Lyft because you can do it via the app. With Uber, I just give the tip to the driver in cash.

    I had no idea that Lyft takes more money from the drivers because it allows them to be tipped via the app. I’d like to know how much more money Lyft takes than does Uber. And are the fares comparable between both companies? As I said, I’ve used both companies, but I never did a fare comparison.

    After speaking with all of my Uber/Lyft drivers, they tell me that people are under the impression that they don’t have to tip TNC drivers because they keep most of the fare money. I believe Uber takes 20% plus $1.00 from each fare. Not sure about Lyft. The drivers then have to pay for very expensive gas, insurance, and vehicle maintenance, all of which, I believe, is tax deductible. But still, it’s not a high-profit means of earning income unless the drivers are busy all day/night.

    In this sharing economy where the workers receive none of the benefits of those holding typical jobs (i.e. health insurance, sick/vacation time, 401K, etc.), please do whatever will put more money in the pockets of the drivers.

  79. I think that making the drivers have
    so much insurance will limit the number drivers dramatically and is VERY bad.
    Why make them have this? Most of the drivers cannot afford this. So it will kill this business. Uber and Lift have made getting around the city so much better, limiting need for parking, an making the city better. Tipping? I have no opinion. I would rather pay up front.

    1. This levels the playing field and the insurance is necessary because the vehicle is being used as public transportation.

      Every Cab on the road pays over $5,000 per year for Auto Insurance. And their rates are fixed by the City or Town..

  80. Like the bill but please nix the tipping requirement. Tipping is bad for consumers and bad for drivers. Also it incentivizes being a jerk because if you’re a jerk and don’t tip your rides are cheaper. We should design systems that instead incentivize good behavior.

  81. Like you said tipping is on Lyft already and most drivers drive for both uber and Lyft. If we really want to tip we can leave cash.

  82. Overall, I like the bill.

    Regarding tips, I think adding an option to tip in the app would be nice. I always give the driver some cash when using these companies, and this would make it more convenient.

    We shouldn’t delude ourselves that discouraging tipping will ensure that Uber and other companies will pay their drivers a decent wage. They aren’t providing any kind of benefits now. Based on what I have heard from drivers, Uber has cut wages when they are fighting for market share. While they may now allow tips, that was not always the case. I have noticed that their drivers often seem hesitant to accept the cash.

    I agree with you that TNCs should be able to go to Logan, they serve a real need that taxis were not meeting.

    Thanks for your work on this issue.

  83. Will –
    1. I commend the Senate for thorough, nicely-drafted comprehensive legislation to address the TNC issue, responsibly addressing public safety while allowing growth of this much-valued service and benefits to the Commonwealth from this sharing technology. Your justifications for support ring true to me.
    2. I would not require TNCs to include a tipping feature. Uber/Lyft users whom I know appreciate not having to add or worry about this; the “all-included” pricing is a strong appeal of TNC service. Let the market manage how companies address this issue.
    Thank you.

  84. I am not sure either. I use Uber very often and really enjoy the ease of no hassle about tips. I do not tip. I would happily pay for a tip included BUT not if the driver would earn less. Not sure how to accomplish that customer convenience.

  85. Allowing a rider to give a tip through the app should be required. Tipping is optional so if you don’t want to include a tip you don’t have to.
    Tipping would increase the driver’s earnings not lower them because the tip is in addition to the fare. The bill should mandate that the tip is in addition to the fare which is what Lyft does now.
    Making the availability of tipping easy will increase earnings for the driver in a different way. Now most Uber riders don’t leave a tip because Uber advertises that as a feature. I feel that is unfair to the driver, especially since Uber takes 20% of the total fare.

    1. Jim,

      You’re at least the second person in this discussion to show a lack of understanding of how adding tipping as a cultural norm will actually disadvantage the people receiving the tips. I let it slide before, but I feel like I need to spell it out now.

      Uber unilaterally decides on what percentage of each fare it takes from the driver.

      There is one and only one consideration it uses when making that calculation: what is the biggest cut it can take without discouraging too many drivers from taking Uber fares?

      If tipping is handled through the app, then Uber will know exactly how much its drivers are receiving in tips.

      It will take that additional driver revenue into consideration and raise its percentage cut commensurately so that the drivers, on average, aren’t actually making any more money than they were making before. It has no incentive not to do that. There is no way a law could be reasonably constructed to make it illegal for Uber to do that.

      In addition, Uber would be required to report to the IRS any tips given through the app. Let’s be honest: some drivers are surely reporting all their tip income to the IRS as they are legally required to do, but many are not. If tipping happens through the app rather than via cash, they have no choice but to report that income and pay taxes on it.

      In addition, tips given in cash go 100% to the driver, whereas Uber would take a slice of tips given through the app to compensate it for the credit-card processing fee on the tip.

      In addition, while Uber will increase its percentage cut so that on average drivers make the same amount they were making before, tip income is irregular and unpredictable, as opposed to the fares set by the app which are consistent and predictable, so while some drivers might make more money as a result of tipping, other drivers would make less, some significantly so.

      None of this benefits drivers.

      Why do you think restaurants encourage patrons to tip in cash?

  86. I think that the state has no business in this situation. As long as there is a healthy competition, the government should stay away. It is a business decision on Uber’s side. They are entitled to succeed or fail, as long as they don’t break the law. If people really want to tip, let them use Lyft. If drivers are more motivated by Lyft and people want to tip the drivers, then Uber will fail, but it is something that they need to handle.
    Moreover, tipping the driver will further legitimize the service as a cab business, which is what both Uber and Lyft are trying to avoid and portray it as a “ride sharing” service. It is a whole different topic if the state wants to allow workarounds to the license-based taxi business.

  87. I don’t think a tipping feature should be required. Part of the appeal of (most of) the TNCs is that you don’t have to worry about cash or tipping. And, if drivers or customers demanded it, TNCs could include this feature at their own discretion; it does not seem like something that the government should mandate.

  88. I agree with you wholeheartedly Will – forcing TNCs to have a tipping feature is effectively inviting them to pay lower wages.

    Give them the flexibility to build a tipping function or not, and workers/consumers will decide which arrangement is most effective.



  89. I favor no tipping

    It is so much cleaner and more pleasant

    Makes for a much better ride experience

    – Gene

  90. Oh please, please don’t require tipping.

    The convenience of being able to drop a pin in an app is nice. The feedback of seeing the driver head towards me is nice. The nicer car is nice. But the one thing I really love about these services is the lack of tipping.

    It’s not that I don’t want to pay the drivers, btw. I’m happy to pay a higher fare in lieu of the tip. What I’m not happy about is trying to calculate tip on the fly, wonder if I’m still up to date on the tipping percentage conventions, etc etc.

  91. Thanks, Will, for the report on the legislation. Sounds like a good piece.

    I oppose the requirement for TNCs to build in a tipping feature. Much better for both drivers and riders to have a fee that already incorporates the full amount the driver expects to make and the rider expects to pay. This makes it the responsibility of the TNC to set prices high enough to attract drivers, rather then enabling them to set low prices and hope that riders voluntarily make up the difference. I personally use Uber instead of Lyft for this very reason. As you point out, there is no need for legislation on this point. Drivers and riders who prefer a tip-based system have that option (Lyft), while drivers and riders who prefer a fully-priced system have that option (Uber).

  92. I agree that the policy of tipping results in less salary from an employer and the dollar amount of tips from person to person varies, My suggestion is if tipping is allowed the amount of the tip should be an amount set in advance. Also if tipping is not allowed there is no guarantee that the salary would compensate for it

    Thanks for asking


  93. I am against the tipping requirement. No tipping is one thing I like most about uber, because I just say thank you and get out of the car rather than fussing with my wallet/phone.

    I use taxis, uber, public transport, my own car, and most of all my feet to get around Boston. I really like uber and want to see it continue.

  94. Thanks Will. Another good report.

    I confess I am not especially enamored of the Uber/Lyft business model; it further increases the number of contract workers who have few or no benefits and who have little effective control of their work situation.

    Tipping is a current reality in the taxi and restaurant businesses; if you don’t pay a living wage to your employees, then collecting tips is the only way to reach the living wage goal.

    Personally, I don’t like the tipping system; pay taxi/limo/ridesharing/restaurant workers a decent wage and have pricing systems that reflect those true costs. it can be done; just travel in Europe or South America, for example, and you will find tipping is much less of a factor in these businesses than in the US.

    So what is it for Uber to include in their app a line where the customer can enter a tip without rummaging in their pockets for loose change? Its a convenience for their customers. Not sure if this should require state regulation, however. Uber just needs to get real!

    Last grumble. Who are people kidding that “ride-sharing” is not a taxi service? You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig! Ride-sharing is little different from the limo service I have used for years and provides the same thing that my local taxi driver does. Just different labeling and packaging; taxi-type services DO need regulating for the safety and comfort of customers. The only discussion should be how it is done in an efficient and effective manner.

    Thanks for listening Will!

    Bernard Fuller

    1. The point about the contract economy is a deep one. And I’m not sure what the answer is — it certainly isn’t forcing all contractors to be treated as employees. The consequence of that is a huge loss of flexibility for both workers and employers. I’m struggling with that dilemma and I think a lot of people are.

      But I don’t think a law requiring apps to include tipping is a solution to the problem — results unpredictable.

  95. If the base salary of independent drivers is adequate (at least minimum wage, plus gas, plus mileage, plus insurance, plus maintenance) then I believe not asking for tips is ok. I doubt very much, though, that Uber or other companies pay their drivers $20-$25/hr., my guesstimate of what it would take to make a bit of salary on top of expenses. I vote for tip option, with adequate base salary written into the bill.

  96. Thank you for asking.
    It seems to me it is fair and equitable as is. Pay your employees enough, charge higher fare, as is the case now I believe.
    I never felt restricted from offering a tip, but I think it works for all when one doesn’t depend on it/expect it.

  97. It should be up to the company whether tipping in the app is an option or not. I personally really like Uber because there is NOT a tipping option. They specifically say that tipping is not required nor expected. If they were to put a tip option in the app, drivers will start expecting it, and I fear that they will start ranking passengers who don’t tip more poorly than those who do. Right now, the driver/passenger rating system is what communicates how satisfied people are. This works very well IMO.

  98. why are the towns taking a 10 cent per mile revue stream, stealing I think,
    stay out of it,
    if they have good insurance and good drivers let them make some money. any way you guys can steal some money you do it.

  99. “One of the unfortunate dark sides of the gig/1099 economy is this: if the price seems too good to be true, the company isn’t paying for it — the worker is. Who better to subsidize the price than the people who have no choice in the matter, since the alternative is often no job at all? It’s exploitative, and you should be suspicious of every business model that drags its workers with it on a race to the bottom.”

    Exceptions are conspicuous (and meritorious): companies like Honor and Rinse make waves just with the uncontroversial action of making their employees W-2s. It behooves companies claiming to be progressive to enact progressive policies.

    Cutting out middlemen, fighting entrenched legislation and established players, leveraging instant connectivity, these are all great things. I congratulate Uber on its conquest. I don’t think it’s evil, but it sure isn’t on the side of the angels, either. Tech is supposed to be a rising tide that lifts all boats.

    Until that happens, tip your Uber driver.”

    Devin Coldewey, TechCrunch

    “Minimum wage laws don’t apply to drivers for ride-hailing apps. Since they’re independent contractors and must cover all of their vehicle expenses themselves, it’s difficult to figure out how much a driver makes at a glance without knowing what their expenses are. However, it turns out that Uber ran these numbers before a recent price cut, and provided raw data to Buzzfeed after the company’s calculations were leaked.”

    Laura Northrup, Consumerist

  100. I have always liked that the tip is included in the price – when you use the app you see the total price and can decide whether it is worth it. Then all drivers get a tip and drivers can rate passengers on things anyone can manage, like being late, leaving a mess, etc. One problem with allowing tipping on the app is that passengers who want good ratings will provide an extra tip and those who do not will not receive top ratings from the drivers. Ratings are important because drivers can see your rating when deciding whether to respond to a ride request and won’t pick up poorly rated passengers. Thus it creates a class system where the richer riders pay extra for good ratings and the poorer passengers (who usually get a benefit using a rideshare because the fees are lower than taxis) suffer lower ratings and have a harder time being picked up.
    But note that the situation as is does not stop a passenger from giving an extra tip to a driver in cash – no change in the app needed.

  101. I am so glad about the insurance piece of this bill. After being in a bad taxi accident years ago and the accident barely covered by the minimum insurance, I have always appreciated the Uber black car service which has insurance at that $1M level.

    I think that these companies should be able to decide whether or not the tipping is baked in. As a consumer, I love that I don’t have to make a decision about the tip for Uber and that it is part of their payment already. I agree on striking the tipping language.

  102. finger printing is a must we will Not take less!
    Your Not fit to be a senator!

    You only think about men riding NOT FOR women!

    we will not be discriminated against! NT to elderly Not to the Poor you only thinking of your self!

  103. Sounds like a good bill. I always assumed taxis carried million dollar liability, interesting to learn otherwise.

  104. My personal opinion security it’s should be prayority of any smart desigion making . Finger prints it’s. must !!! To be done .!!! A lot of people drive without permit to work in Amerika !!!! That why Uber don’t whant it to be part of regulation ., Company’s like Uber and lift operate against the low and pay a lots of money to politician , help tham to go around constitution rights . Wery sad and wrong !!!!

  105. I agree with the tipping policy as passed. 2 reasons, 1 the TNC will have to pay competitively 2 If the rider wants to tip it is cash and thus between the driver and the ride where it should be, I am concerned that the DPU is going to hav a lot of work monitoring this portion of the industry. Is the DPU up to the task and not being buried in a bureaucratic morass. Fingerprinting is becoming ubiquitous and not that burdensome. An example is the Nexus or Global Entry for trusted passengers. Finger printing will also be a deterrent to individuals who might have an unsavoury past. I thank the Senator for is responsiveness to this issue. WWW

    1. Thanks for the support on tipping.

      I share the concern that the DPU should not get too deep into the process — should be doing oversight, not individual driver vetting.

      I don’t feel the prints add any where near what they used to in safety — prints are only as useful as the database they are keyed into. Most relevant data is in other databases and consulting all of them is the best way to get a picture of someone.

  106. It seems to me that the legislature should perhaps be considering a more general question of “protection of workers in the gig economy,” and whether action on that question is appropriate or not.

    Approaching the question in a piecemeal, case-by-case way like uber/lyft bill has a number of problems:

    1. you run the risk of protecting an existing industry or business model under the guise of protecting workers, thereby stifling innovation

    2. you create a patchwork of regulations; because each set has a small “installed base” you wind up creating a whole set of experts on each of the multiple sets of regulations, which makes answers less clear and more expensive to find, increasing the burden of the regulations.

    3. you either leave a lot of people uncovered, or when you do come up with a comprehensive scheme, a lot of industries are double-regulated or need to be grandfathered out.

    I’ll bet that there are people within a 30 mile radius of here who have thought about how one might deal with worker protections in the gig economy.

    Also, it’s not just a gen-smartphone question; there seems to be some rethinking on the pay system for waitstaff. If that needs legislative work, they might fit together.

    In terms of addressing it, it seems to me that there are two gig-economy groups, a) the global gig economy where I could hire a graphic designer in Belmont or Bangalore; and b) the local gig economy where I am hiring someone to drive me somewhere, run an errand for me (taskrabbit. com), serve me dinner etc., things which by their nature are local.

    Zooming out to the still-bigger picture of Trump and Brexit, some time ago I read a book about Singapore’s Lee Kwan Yew (Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World, by Graham Allison & others). Not the deepest book on the subject, but a fairly easy-read intro. The thing that stuck with me was that he was very much committed to a vibrant highly entrepreneurial economy, but also said that you have to help out the bottom 40% of workers if that’s what you’re doing. If you can help them out in a way that tends toward building self-respect and healthy self-advancement, rather than building a dead-end culture of dependency, then you have reforms that have a chance of some bipartisan support. I have had two recent experiences with folks on disability, one in the public system and one in the private system and it was night and day.

    I am cautiously optimistic about Trump not getting elected, but I am certainly frightened of a slicker version of him and I think that someone (preferably the democrats from my point of view) needs to address these issues, because in addition to a lot of folks dislocated and suffering, there are a lot of voters (not to mention the future of the Republic) in play.

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