I’m a happy UBER customer. I can’t imagine moving around DC without them (or without DC Metro). I’ve begun to use them on occasion here in Atlanta as well. I’ve never had a bad customer experience with them.
I also know Representative Alan Powell. He’s always been a straight shooter and plain talking guy. He doesn’t mince words, and I haven’t known him to be someone who works on matters of hidden agendas.
A lot of us in social media who like UBER and don’t want their business to be killed by the taxi cab industry have jumped on Rep Powell’s bill and, quite frankly, made it unnecessarily personal and have been over the top rude. This isn’t necessary for public debate, and doesn’t serve public discourse.
At a hearing last week, Powell asked the Atlanta General Manager of Uber five times how his proposal would hurt UBER’s business. He didn’t have an answer. Frankly, for all the vitriol we’ve fired over this bill assuming it was designed to kill UBER, he should have. Not being able to articulate one is a problem.
Powell tells me his primary concern is one of ensuring that UBER’s drivers pass background checks and that their cars are insured. I don’t think ensuring that a car I contract for hire is insured and that a minimum background check is performed.
That said, I do agree that Powell’s efforts should be focused on opening up the taxicab monopoly, not punishing those who have innovated it. Apparently, so does Rep Powell. I’ll let him explain that in his own words. Below is an email he sent to his fellow legislators. I think we’re now on the right track here.
Re: HB 907
I have received a number of inquires from many members concerning HB 907. There has been a lot of misinformation on motive as well as the substance. Technology and innovation is creating a lot of new business models for society’s benefit, such is the case of smart phone app transportation referral.
As a legislative veteran my concern is for the public’s safety. There are some social net-workers who say whats the need for background checks for drivers, I say its to prevent criminals from doing harm. Most law abiding citizens never worry until a criminal act has happened.
I encourage you to look at the Committee Sub as passed and call me with your thoughts or questions. Included below is the explanation and background of HB 907 as emailed to our citizens.
Alan Powell 32nd
There is a lot of misinformation concerning pending legislation HB 907. Despite the social networking grapevine there is nothing proposed that would stifle the UBER and LYFT business model, much less put them out of business.
In Georgia we don’t require much of those who drive and operate ‘for hire‘ transportation but we do expect them to have a State certified criminal/ driving record background check to assure that you, your wife, daughter or girlfriend or anyone else is relatively safe when being picked up. Heaven forbid a sex molester or other deviant might pray on the unsuspecting. Also driving record screening should have some importance, I don’t think a multiple DUI offender offering their services would be cool. This has been accomplished by participating drivers obtained a Georgia drivers license from the DDS with a Limo attachment as required of all Limo drivers. And by the way that process only requires one to have their GCIC ( criminal background) background run and the cost of the license is the same as a regular drivers license.
Two other issues for the public good would be to require a minimum liability insurance and that the drivers or service pay their sales tax that is current law.
*The current proposal defines what is a ‘transportation referral company’.
*Requires the company to register with the Dept of Public Safety and electronically submit their drivers names.
*Allows companies to affirm they have done the background check or drivers can use a chauffeurs attachment.
*Requires 300k minimum liability insurance.
*Establishes a Legislative study committee to look at deregulation of the taxi and Limo industry.
This is a public safety issue. I for one like the business model for the new transportation phone apps. This might afford those of us in rural Georgia a for pay transportation conveyance.
Regards, Alan Powell