Senate committee approves ridesharing legislation

Senate committee approves ridesharing legislation

A committee of the California Senate on Tuesday approved bills that would make it more complicated as well as expensive for ridesharing companies to operate in the Golden State.

Companies like Lyft and UberX, which allow passengers to summon paid rides using apps on their mobile devices such as smartphones, have become very popular in dozens of cities of the United States. But these companies have also been facing opposition from taxi firms that argue that companies like Lyft are not facing the harsh regulations they do.

In addition, insurance companies have also been demanding the government to make ridesharing drivers to take more expensive insurance policies. But, ridesharing companies are arguing that they already have commercial policies that take effect when drivers accept rides on their mobile apps.

The AB 612 Bill approved by the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee yesterday retains provisions like requiring mandatory drug & alcohol tests for every ridesharing driver. It is expected to deter some casual drivers.

Another bill, AB 2239, would require ridesharing firms' insurance policies to cover drivers from the point of time they turn on the app, and not from when they accept a ride on the app. The move to ensure more extensive coverage stems from an incident on New Year's Eve, when an UberX driver in San Francisco killed a child while his app was on but he had not accepted a ride.

Meanwhile, the California Public Utilities Commission has scheduled a hearing for July 10 for its own proposed rules to regulate ridesharing in the state.

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