Rideshare Services to be Studied This Fall

August 21, 2014 15:52 pm

by Jon Richards · 11 comments

During the 2014 Georgia legislative session, State Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell) introduced HB 907, which would have regulated for-hire car services like Uber and Lyft. After outcries from fans of the service, the bill was quickly scuttled.

But, as it happens, a committee to study the issue was created via House Resolution 1805. Its members include Powell as chairman, along with Reps. John Carson (R-Marietta), Emory Dunahoo (R-Gainesville), Lynne Riley (R-Johns Creek) and Dale Rutledge (R-McDonough). The committee is scheduled to meet this fall.

The Atlanta based Council for Quality Growth obtained information from Uber on the company’s impact in Atlanta, which they published here. An excerpt:

We’ve brought an unprecedented level of safety, transparency and accountability to transportation in Atlanta. Atlantans want innovative transportation options that are as forward-looking as our amazing city. These options are good for consumers, who gain access to safer, more reliable and affordable transportation alternatives, and for drivers, who are provided greater opportunities to start their own business and make a living. Riders and drivers alike deserve improved transportation alternatives and increased opportunity. To ensure a strong future and economic growth, we should listen to people of Atlanta and craft legislation that embraces more choice and opportunity, and allows for safer, more convenient ways to move around the city.

Citing Atlanta as “the tech capital of the southeast,” the Council recommended that the study committee “should examine a de-regulation of the industry to allow competition on an even playing field and loosen the government regulations, rather than exploring options for increased regulations and restrictions.”

Noway August 21, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Wasn’t Dunahoo one of the lawmakers who wanted to require a tag for your toddler’s bike?

Jon Richards August 21, 2014 at 4:13 pm
Noway August 21, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Jon, is it your understanding, as a result of this posting, that this committee is actually looking to deregulate the taxi industry, thereby allowing folks like Uber to operate unmolested by complaints from the taxi industry? Or by “even playing field” does that mean more regulations that will apply to Uber. I’m a little confused by your last paragraph. What’s your opinion of the actual goal of the committee?

Jon Richards August 22, 2014 at 9:05 am

Sorry for the late response. The committee will study the issue and make recommendations, which could be either pro-regulation or pro-deregulation. Or, they could choose not to do anything. Either way, the committee will be abolished at the end of November.

The last paragraph is a quote from the Council for Quality Growth’s post. My take is they would prefer to deregulate both the traditional taxi/limousine industry and the new car hire services.

analogkid August 21, 2014 at 6:12 pm

Three of the legislators on the committee represent cities/ areas in which Uber doesn’t even operate (https://www.uber.com/cities/atlanta).

Brilliant.

Ed August 22, 2014 at 8:43 am

That was my reaction. With no real offense meant, these really aren’t the people who should be studying Uber etc.

saltycracker August 21, 2014 at 6:13 pm

Uber provides a good competitive service. That said the limo/taxi business requires some regulation for public safety. The choice should not be prohibitive licensing/inspection/standards costs to limit those in the business nor to create a wildcat situation.

The committee will have to rise above the protect the bureaucracy/represented vs. damn the regulators kindergarten mentality. They probably couldn’t agree that it is unethical for a committee member to accept a contribution from a lobbyist/interest on either side.

Harry August 21, 2014 at 8:36 pm

IF regulators make use of the 21st century apps and tools, it shouldn’t be so difficult to remove barriers to entry while ensuring the public safety. Of course we’re talking about government regulation, and based trends in regulation I observe at the Georgia Department of Revenue and IRS (or lack thereof), I’m not too optimistic.

Dave Bearse August 21, 2014 at 10:24 pm

So what happens in event of tax change that broadens the base and reduces rates, and sales and use taxation is applied to transportation service?

MattMD August 21, 2014 at 11:25 pm

I love Uber and Lyft. I remember calling those idiots at Atlanta Lenox Taxi from the Tech campus and visibly looking at the address on the front of my building. The moron said she couldn’t find it. I was like ok, I will just give directions to my building and she was like “I need an address”. I called another service and I was on hold for 20 minutes.

I ended up walking from Ferst Drive and Atlantic to the North Avenue MARTA station in the oh-so-lovely Atlanta August morning heat. I still made my flight to LAX. Luckily, I wore an undershirt.

I hope all those “established” clowns go out of business. It’s horrific service.

Dave Bearse August 22, 2014 at 10:14 am

I live in north DeKalb. I long ago learned never to bother with taxis—they’re inevitably too busy or can’t find anyone when the fare will be less than $10. I too am looking forward to the regulated industry getting what it deserves.

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