Ride Sharing Service Bills Pass on “Sine Die”

Both ridesharing bills, House Bill 190 and House Bill 225, passed with overwhelming support on the final day of the legislative session.

HB190, which addressed the insurance coverage concerns of ridesharing services, now requires all ride share drivers to:

  • Maintain an insurance policy that recognizes him/her as a ride-share service provider;
  • Maintain a minimum of $50,000 per person/$100,000 per occurrence in insurance limits for times the driver is logged onto the network and available to accept a ride; and
  • Maintain a minimum of $1 million in bodily injury and property damage coverage per occurrence and $1 million of uninsured/underinsured coverage for times the driver accepts a ride request until the point at which the transaction is complete.

HB225 offers further levels of regulation, including:

  • Requiring drivers for ridesharing companies to be subject to background checks, either by the Department of Driver’s Services OR a private company;
  • Requiring any company engaging in for-hire transportation to purchase annually a master license based on the number of vehicles owned;
  • Requiring ridesharing companies to carry the same level of liability insurance as is required of taxi and limousine companies; and
  • Placing a freeze on the issuance of taxicab medallions by municipalities and counties.

Atlanta, like many like many cities across the United States, faces significant transportation challenges. Limited access to public transit, decades of urban sprawl, and a lack of investment have all made owning a car a definite requirement for living in the Metro Region.

 The impacts of this forced choice are now obvious: heavy roadway congestion, soaring costs for individuals and families, carbon emissions, and air pollution. With the city’s population expected to keep on growing, new transportation choices are desperately needed. Despite these negative outcomes, 80% of the seats in cars on road are empty. Encouraging people to share vehicles and reduce their impact has been one key strategy utilized nationwide to ease the transportation pressure, but achieving that goal has been its own challenge.

 In the last few years; however, mobile technology has changed the game. Mobile technology platforms like Lyft and Uber have allowed people to request rides on demand, connecting drivers with passengers in a new way. Ride sharing is now available in over sixty cities across the country, and cities and states are rushing to catch up with how quickly ridesharing is changing the face of transportation nationwide.

Lyft, Uber, and other services deliver a safe, affordable, and convenient way to get around when other transportation options are unavailable. But, ridesharing platforms don’t only serve those who need a ride at the tap of a button. A recent economic study conducted by Lyft found that 78% of passengers spend more money and frequent local businesses more because of the platform.

Additionally, ridesharing has even begun to have an impact on the way we socialize — and for the better. A study of passengers found that over 90% feel they are more likely to avoid driving while impaired because of the availability of the service.

The potential of ridesharing platforms to deliver dynamic transportation to previously underserved communities and areas of Atlanta is significant.

Ridesharing is making it easier to get around in cities from Honolulu to New York City, connecting people, and reducing the impact of personal vehicle ownership. Calculating the benefit of ridesharing for Atlanta is still difficult, but if the experience of other cities is anything to go by, the Region has much to look forward to.