Bill is careful balance between regulation and innovation
BOSTON— The first warm spring day of the year also brought heated debate as the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill establishing a regulatory structure for the ride-for-hire industry.
The bill emphasizes public safety, requiring drivers to undergo certification and background checks through both the state and ride hail companies. It requires ride hailing apps to have an emergency button feature for riders to notify police in the event of an emergency during a ride. Additionally, drivers would be required to display a removable decal on the exterior of their car when on duty to indicate they are certified drivers.
“The key here is to encourage entrepreneurs to continue to innovate while protecting the safety of those who ride in a stranger’s car,” said Representative Jeffrey Sánchez (D-Boston). “Innovation is great but it’s not always accessible. This legislation also considers those in the taxi industry, many of whom are hardworking immigrants without the capital or experience to necessarily work in the innovation industry.”
Taxis would retain sole authorization to pick up at Logan Airport and the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.
Massachusetts will join 29 other states in adopting the ride for hire national compromise insurance policy, which will guarantee $1 million in coverage. Cabs and liveries may be covered through this insurance, if they choose.
The compromise legislation was adopted with 139 votes in support and 16 against. It was considered shortly after the House passed the conference committee compromise on substance abuse prevention to address the opioid crisis.