Most of What You’ve Heard About the Uber Bill Is Wrong

House Bill 224 and to a lesser extent House Bill 190 are the result of the recommendations made by the House Study Committee on For-Hire Transportation Services, which met last fall to consider how to regulate the various types of transportation services and providers. The committee was chaired by Rep. Alan Powell of Hartwell and included Rep. John Carson of Marietta, Emory Dunahoo of Gainesville, Lynne Riley of Johns Creek and Dale Rutledge of McDonough. All are Republicans. In addition to traditional taxicabs and limousines, the committee looked at new ride share services exemplified by Uber and Lyft, which had begun operating in the Peach State.

The ride sharing services have become very popular with millennials, who like to be able to use an app on their phones to arrange for a car to pick them up and take them to their destination. They don’t have to worry about hailing a cab or pre-arranging for transportation, and they don’t have to worry about how much the ride will cost, since all that’s handled when they place their order via the app.

The report of the study committee shows members focused on several concerns, including passenger safety, insurance coverage, sales tax liability, and market deregulation. Despite the proclamations by some that HB 190 and 224 are attempts to shut down the ride sharing services–an issue I’ll go into more detail on in a bit–the two bills deal with these issues.

Passenger safety covers two areas: is the vehicle safe, and can the driver pass a background check conducted by the Georgia or National Crime Information Centers. While no new laws are proposed regarding vehicle safety, HB 224 requires taxi and ride share drivers to obtain the same chauffeur’s endorsement, renamed to a for-hire endorsement, presently required of limousine drivers. House Bill 190 specifies the insurance that must be in force for a ride share driver, essentially a $1 million liability policy while transporting a passenger, and $300,000 when the driver is willing to accept a rider.

The study committee was concerned that ride share services may not be charging the legally required sales tax on each fare, or remitting the tax to the Department of Revenue. Georgia is one of very few states that charges sales tax on fares. In recognition of that fact, HB 224 eliminates the sales tax, and instead requires taxis, limos, and vehicles used in ride share services have a $300 decal issued annually by the state prior to carrying passengers for hire. That’s roughly equivalent to paying sales tax on $4000 in fares.

HB 224 also takes some steps towards deregulating the for-hire transportation industry. Recognizing that the city of Atlanta uses a taxi medallion system, the bill allows it to remain, but restricts medallion issuance to taxicabs, and prohibits any additional counties or cities from requiring medallions in order to operate. The bill further deregulates taxi fares by specifying that a rate set by a local government is a maximum fare, with the taxi company free to discount from there as it sees fit.

Add some legislative language and a few other definitions and provisions, and that’s the bill. Which begs the question of why some are proclaiming that “Georgia seeks to ban Uber and Lyft,” or that “Georgia legislators want to run Uber and Lyft off the road” or that “House Bill 224 would force Uber drivers to obtain taxi medallions.”

Perhaps the confusion arises from the way the different types of transportation services and providers are defined. Section 3 of HB 224 defines “limousine carrier,” “ride share network service,” “taxi service,” “transportation referral service,” and “transportation referral service provider” differently. While the eponymous Uber black car service would qualify as a limousine service, Uber-X is a ride share network service. Taxi services use taximeters to calculate fares.

A transportation referral service books rides for taxis or limousines, but does not own any limos or taxis itself. Think of a hotel concierge that books taxis or limos for guests, or perhaps a travel agent. And a transportation referral service provider is like a transportation referral service, except that it does own taxis or limousines. This could be a limo service that, when all of its vehicles are booked, arranges a trip through a different limo service for a client.

According to Powell, Uber-X and Lyft are neither transportation referral services nor transportation referral service providers.

The AJC’s Political Insider reported that these lines from HB 224 will force changes in the way Uber operates:

Each transportation referral service provider doing business, operating, or providing transportation services in this state shall:

–Either obtain directly or determine that each taxi service to which it refers business possesses either a certificate of public necessity and convenience or medallion authorizing the provision of taxicab services in such local government if the certificate of public necessity and convenience or medallion is required by an ordinance of the local government where such taxi service is to be provided;

– Either obtain directly or determine that each taxi service to which it refers business is registered with the department and possesses and maintains a permit authorizing the provision of taxicab services in such local government if a company permit is required by an ordinance of the local government where such taxi service is to be provided;

– Either obtain directly or determine that each limousine carrier to which it refers business is properly and currently registered and licensed pursuant to Part 3 of this article….

That part of the law refers to transportation referral service providers, not ride sharing services. And in any case, it defines a provider’s relationship with taxi and limo services, not ride sharing services. I’m guessing that the other stories I cited made the same assumption that ride sharing services were transportation referral services.

Uber has been very successful in portraying itself as a scrappy little company who is trying survive in the transportation for hire business, despite being attacked by the entrenched taxi and limousine cartels that can’t keep up with their 21st century business model. A December story in the Washington Post puts it this way:

Uber’s approach is brash and, so far, highly effective: It launches in local markets regardless of existing laws or regulations. It aims to build a large customer base as quickly as possible. When challenged, Uber rallies its users to pressure government officials, while unleashing its well-connected lobbyists to influence lawmakers.

The company — which says its goal is to work with officials to change old laws that its executives argue don’t apply to a phone-app-based service — has carried out this approach repeatedly in cities and states across the country over the past year. It has upended long-entrenched taxi regulations while building itself into a technology giant valued at more than $40 billion.

The entire Post story is worth reading, going into details about Uber’s lobbying efforts in state capitols and city halls. And yes, Uber has lobbyists walking around the Gold Dome. The company has hired none other than former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe to market Uber much the same way–and using many of the same techniques–that he previously used to market hope and change.

The playbook is familiar to anyone who paid attention to Obama for America. Start by turning your campaign into a cause. Find a theme—for Obama it was Change We Can Believe In and a dash of Hope. For Uber it’s, well, Change We Can Believe In with a dash of Choice. Then build an inspiring narrative around said theme. Speak to your core audience wherever they might be, whenever possible via the beautiful efficient directness of email. Nudge them toward being fired-up advocates, partly by equipping them with the hand-selected facts. Fight only the battles that count. Mine your data for all it’s worth. Piece together a plan and stick to it, ignoring the noise.

On the other side of this juggernaut is Alan Powell, chairman of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, trying to figure out how, if at all, to regulate the new player in the for-hire transportation business. The taxi industry wants the same regulations for ride sharing services as there are for cabs, despite the fact that virtually all of those regulations come from local government, not the state. Uber and Lyft claim that they are different types of companies who don’t have to play by the same rules, although recent evidence shows that they are willing to come to the table with local governments more than they had previously.

The free market is a wonderful concept. But, too little regulation can lead to major problems, as we’ve seen recently with the online classifieds site Craigslist. House Bill 224 has yet to have a hearing before the Regulated Industries Committee. That committee is scheduled to meet today at 3 PM, although Powell’s bill isn’t on the agenda. Based on the differing interpretations of what the bill actually does, perhaps the language needs to be clarified. It’s possible there are less restrictive ways to protect drivers and passengers.

But don’t assume that Alan Powell is out to destroy Uber and Lyft. He’s worried that he’s going to pick up the newspaper one day soon, and see a tragic story about a ride share service passenger who ran into an unfortunate situation because of a criminal driver or an improperly insured vehicle.

59 comments

  1. Jessica Szilagyi says:

    “The free market is a wonderful concept. But, too little regulation can lead to major problems, as we’ve seen recently with the online classifieds site Craigslist.”

    What happened on Craigslist with the Runion couple didn’t happen because of too little regulation. It happened because there are bad people in the world. Just like the bad people who take advantage of female Realtors showing houses alone or preying on little girls selling cookies door-to-door.

    We don’t have to legislate everything…or use fear to do so.

    • Teri says:

      I completely agree. As a rider, I feel much safer in an Uber car than I do in a cab. For one, the Uber app texts me the drivers name, their photo, the make & model of the car, and the car’s tag number. I can share that with anyone (I usually text the screenshot to my husband). With a cab, all bets are off. The app tracks your movements for the entire trip. Plus, the driver knows who *I* am.

      As far as Craigslist goes, it didn’t require regulations for police departments to offer their parking lots as Craigslist meeting spots – nor did it stop any of the Craigslist users who have been meeting at police departments all along.

  2. John Konop says:

    Some of my die hard libertarian friends, do not take into consideration, if you move your liabilities to tax payers….that is deceptive trade….not capitalism….I am all for deregulation as long as you are not just putting it on tax payers, it is fully disclosed and you are of sound mind….A service that avoids taxes, does not have proper insurance requirements ….Is just gaming the system….the application is a great idea….just make sure they follow same rules….

  3. Three Jack says:

    First question, is there a problem requiring government intervention (rhetorical).

    So since there is no problem, why are GOPers trying to get in the way of progress yet again?

    Here is an article explaining who is behind the legislation, how much they were paid and their reasons (note all of the signers on the legislation are from rural areas, none from Metro Atlanta where Uber is popular) – http://www.freedomworks.org/content/georgia-legislators-want-run-uber-and-lyft-road-0

    From the article, PP’s own Buzz Brockaway – “Toss out the medallion system and let taxi drivers, Uber drivers, Lyft drivers and whatever other rideshare companies’ drivers who want to, compete for business.” That’s what should be happening if anything.

    On another note, based on recent postings, has PP become the mouthpiece for over regulating, tax increasing GOPers?

    • Charlie says:

      This line of thought is increasingly frustrating to me. Someone comes along, ignores all current regulations to give themselves a competitive advantage, and any attempt to set a level playing field is met with “this is about revenuers getting their share” or that anyone that tries to get out of the K-street produced campaign that hides facts behind trite bumper sticker slogans “but, FREE MARKET!”.

      Screwing over existing businesses, no matter how unpopular, does not create a free market. And if all any of us have to do is slightly differentiate ourselves with a new piece of technology to evade taxes, then we’re not going to have a government soon.

      I realize many of our readers think that’s optimal. Most voters, however, don’t. Furlough teachers, let a bridge collapse, or let a hospital close because all of the patients they see provide revenue below cost and then the majority of voters will quickly ask why the government let that happen.

      Taxes need to be low and broad based, not paid by the select few that are already paying them for the benefit of newcomers that come along and choose to pay nothing, except what they pay to their PR/lobbying team to protect a franchise.

      A lot of our posters love to scream “crony capitalism” or “rent seekers” when a company tries to use government to secure an advantage for them. And yet, if it’s new, slick, and flashy, that’s exactly what you and the others demand.

      Engage intellectually and seek a level playing field. The problem with this bill isn’t that it tries to regulate Uber too much. The problem is that it doesn’t do enough to inject competitive forces into Atlanta’s taxicab system. There’s your argument. Not that Uber should never have to certify they have liability insurance, and not that Uber shouldn’t have to pay sales taxes.

      • Ghost of William F. Buckley says:

        Charlie, see my post below. You are mistaken on the insurance angle.

        As to the sales tax, which is, in my opinion, the true crux of this issue, modify the tax code instead of deny new entrants their market.

        Y’alls lack of fact checking borders on duplicity, or more kindly, simple-minded laziness.

        • Charlie says:

          Explain to me how requiring something Uber already has forces Uber from this state?

          That’s the argument as I keep seeing it framed. Bill requires Uber to have insurance, which would force Uber from us. But Uber has insurance, yet bill forces them from state….

          • Ghost of William F. Buckley says:

            Charlie, the point being made is that We the People need Uber to provide insurance protection. That is duplicitous, as you so state, since Uber has insurance in place.

            Maybe you are busy, but your point is not clear.

            • Charlie says:

              I’m very busy, but by all means, please instead to use “duplicity and simple minded laziness”. It’s what I’ve come to expect from you.

              • Ghost of William F. Buckley says:

                Well, y’all did not fact check insurance which took me all but one conversation with an ACTUAL UBER DRIVER. NOPE, instead we rail on about what the Bill’s authors ‘done tole ya.’

                You do good stuff, but when you slip it’s OK to be humble. Try it, it’s liberating.

                Duplicitous OR more kindly, simple-minded laziness, but not both.

                • Charlie says:

                  Have talked with multiple Uber drivers (I’m a frequent user of their service) and Rep. Powell, as well as Uber’s PR team.

                  It’s a lot to try and keep up with while being simple mindedly duplicitous.

      • Three Jack says:

        My point is that GOPers are looking to tax and regulate just as the other party does anytime a new idea comes along. Why not follow the idea offered by Buzz to eliminate an antiquated medallion system so that all providers of alternative transportation compete on a level playing field. That would be the intellectually appropriate response from supposed fiscal conservatives.

        Uber is not about ‘screwing over existing businesses’ anymore than email was when it became popular much to the dismay of the USPS. Uber is a great idea that benefits shareholders, qualified vehicle owners and those who choose to use the service. If Uber allowed a bunch of scumbags to become drivers, the evil free market would impose its own penalties without need of government intervention.

        This is a regulatory solution looking for a problem because certain good ol boy reps who do not even live in a Uber covered area decided to act.

        • Charlie says:

          Moving people from point A to point B isn’t a “new idea”.

          In fact, the requirement for Uber to pay taxes on these services is already in the tax code. They’re just using their PR campaign to convince you they’re new and a victim, rather than a free rider and a tax dodger.

          • Three Jack says:

            Moving people from point A to point B using a mobile application that replaced waving one’s hand in the air while whistling for a cab is a new idea. And a much better way to acquire needed transportation.

            If we tax every new idea that makes life better, why not force emailers to have a digital postage stamp because otherwise it would be unfair to the USPS? You can’t tax everything, but GOPers seem intent on trying.

            Disclaimer – I’ve never used Uber, probably never will. Many of my friends use it regularly and rave about the service, praise seldom if ever heard about getting a cab in and around Atlanta.

            • Three Jack says:

              One other quick thought regarding GOPers attracting younger voters. Forcing Uber into an antiquated City of Atlanta modeled taxi system will not increase young voter interest in the GOP. Good luck on the stump proclaiming, “I lead the fight to force you to pay more for Uber while having fewer drivers available to provide the service.”

              • Ghost of William F. Buckley says:

                Hush, Three jack, or surely Charlie will put you on his Pishy List.

                Your points are well taken, certainly from a pol standpoint.
                “No Uber, no Vibrators, no Medical Marijuana – Purple before our Time”

              • Jon Richards says:

                Three Jack, where in the bill does it force ride sharing services into an “Atlanta modeled taxi system?”

                The bill prevents Atlanta from requiring Uber vehicles from being forced to have medallions, and prevents any more cities / counties from starting medallion systems.

                • Three Jack says:

                  Jon, from your original post – “HB 224 requires taxi and ride share drivers to obtain the same chauffeur’s endorsement, renamed to a for-hire endorsement, presently required of limousine drivers. House Bill 190 specifies the insurance that must be in force for a ride share driver, essentially a $1 million liability policy while transporting a passenger, and $300,000 when the driver is willing to accept a rider.”

                  Also – “HB 224 eliminates the sales tax, and instead requires taxis, limos, and vehicles used in ride share services have a $300 decal issued annually by the state prior to carrying passengers for hire. That’s roughly equivalent to paying sales tax on $4000 in fares.”

                  I haven’t read the bill, but trust that you have and the statements in your post are based on your reading. From your statements, ride share services are being lumped in with Taxis. Most regulators/elected officials/politicians in other states have classified Uber as a ‘transportation network company’ separate from taxis.

                  • Jon Richards says:

                    And indeed that’s what the bill proposes – ride share services are separate from taxis or limos. I don’t think having ride share drivers pass a background check, have their cars with insurance, and pay a decal fee makes them the same as taxis.

                    • Three Jack says:

                      How do you read your own words claiming rideshares will be required to get the same approvals/licenses as taxis yet then reply they are separate? If they were being treated differently, then maybe Georgia should follow most other states by creating a ‘transportation network company’ category to differentiate the services (IF, big IF because there is no need for any legislation on this topic, but IF the GOP is hellbent on regulating yet another new idea, then at least recognize the differences).

                      Uber is responsible for the background checks, insurance requirements, etc. If they fail in filling this business obligation, then they will end up going out of business if enough customers get pissed…same as any other unregulated business.

                      There is absolutely no need for regulatory legislation concerning this matter. This is a solution looking for a problem.

                    • reevos says:

                      Jon,
                      I am definitely late to the game on this, but I wanted to point out one key thing this bill doesn’t account for. Most of the people providing Uber are doing this as a side job. They do it on the Saturdays they have free, or they do it when they are off of college. Most of the ones I have talked to may make 20-40 dollars a month on this. I asked because I thought about doing this. If you make 480 dollars a year doing this, 300 dollars from that will completely stop these drivers. No one wants to work for a company to only make 180 dollars a year or 15 dollars a month. They’re paying 62.5% tax. That’s insane. If anything there should be a tax on the riders not the drivers.

                    • benevolus says:

                      Everybody seems to agree that having insurance and a functional vehicle are good things. The question is whether it should be voluntary and “let the market sort it out” or it should be mandatory. I will say mandatory, and if that makes this not a viable source of part time income for some, so be it. It’s not the end of the world. Maybe they can drive an ice cream truck if they want to drive so much.

                      Yes there are bad taxi drivers and regulation doesn’t ensure a perfect system, but rather than expect that all companies will behave like Uber, I suspect a more realistic approach would be that at some point a company would come in and try to be the cheapest and to do that they would cut corners on non-mandatory safety issues. And it is not hard to imagine that there are plenty of people who would want to save a buck if they can.
                      It’s not worth it. Set the regulations, and if you are going to carry passengers for a living, you must comply. Letting the market sort it out in this case means how many grisly accidents before people turn away? Having multiple high-profile accidents doesn’t seem to be hurting Megabus.

        • benevolus says:

          “the evil free market would impose its own penalties ”
          Is that like when the free market made tobacco companies stop hiding health data on their products?
          Or when mining companies had to make better working conditions because people stopped buying their coal?

          • Noway says:

            People quit buying coal because of the Administration’s/Environmentalist’s vociferous efforts to destroy that industry and cigarettes added a warning label in the early 60’s saying there were health concerns. To stupid or weak minded not to smoke? The risks have been public for 50 years.

          • benevolus says:

            The fact is the free market doesn’t always behave. Companies owned by anonymous shareholders regularly put their potential customers at risk and try to get away with it, as well as other bad actors who, left to their own devices, always think there are plenty of suckers out there to take advantage of. You can’t even argue it. Focus the argument on whether THIS situation demands regulation or not, but just claiming the free market will automatically fix it is because it just will just get people like me to try show how that’s not always so.

            • Three Jack says:

              “The fact is the free market doesn’t always behave.” And government does?

              I’m very focused and hope there is a move to reduce regulation on taxis, limos and rideshare services instead of this nonsensical legislation. If Uber decided to drop background checks, vehicle requirements, etc., then the market would speak loudly via social media and Uber would suffer. In this case, the free market has been working proven by the many recommendations for Uber and lack of problems involving Uber transactions. There is no need for this legislation unless of course the signers were prompted by certain lobby groups to reduce unwanted competition.

        • Dr. Monica Henson says:

          I’ve been talking to Rick Jasperse, who represents District 11, which includes Jasper, where I live, about this situation. He and his family are all Uber users.

      • bsjy says:

        Charlie, one’s position on Uber/Lyft flows from one’s position on regulation. You think there will be a hue and a cry from people when teachers are furloughed or a bridge collapses. You conflated two distinctly different hues!

        The hue and cry on teacher furloughs will come entirely from the union-dominated teacher pressure group that is huing and crying in order to scare politicians into caving one more time to another restraint on the market for goods and services. Uber/Lyft and the taxicab business are a hue and cry like this: those who paid the vig to the political Dons want everyone to pay the vig or be crushed by the Dons.

        Uber/Lyft is to ride-sharing as vouchers are to education: an effort to put the decision-making in the hands of buyers and sellers who are presumed to be capable of rational thought and know their own situation better than some remote planner/bureaucrat. Following this approach, which is grounded in the concept of subsidiarity and respect for the dignity of the human person, means accepting up front the possibility of bad things happening to good people. As we have seen after decades of trying it the other way, bad things happen to good people even when planners with purity of heart design programs to promote the human person. It is a fallen world in which we live.

        The collapsing bridge is a different hue and cry because roads and bridges were redefined as a public good 200 years ago, and almost every private transportation project eventually becomes a public project (e.g., the Brooklyn Bridge).

        If you are going to argue in favor of continued corporatism, argue plainly. Do not hide your corporatist outlook in truly public goods like roads and bridges.

          • Ghost of William F. Buckley says:

            “You quit reading,” there that’s more better.

            BSJY NAILED IT: (And not Charlie, nor mini-Charlie, Jon)

            “Uber/Lyft and the taxicab business are a hue and cry like this: those who paid the vig to the political Dons want everyone to pay the vig or be crushed by the Dons.”

            It is harder to get a cab in Atlanta than it is to schedule heart surgery.

          • bsjy says:

            Oh Charlie, you sly devil. Pressure groups are not unions, but you quit reading. Here I did “engage intellectually and seek a level playing field” only to have you depart from the engagement in a huff over a claim I did not make. Somebody who went to Occidental, Columbia and Harvard Law has been teaching you how to debate.

        • Dr. Monica Henson says:

          “Union-dominated teacher pressure groups” = GAE and GFT, which pay a portion of Georgia members’ dues to the NEA and AFT, which are in fact unions, despite Georgia employees (it’s not just teachers who can join “teacher unions”) being barred by law from unionizing. The definition bsjy provides is entirely accurate.

          • Ed says:

            Yeah. It’s entirely accurate because Georgia teachers can also strike, collectively bargain, you know,the hallmarks of unions. Oh, wait….

            • Ghost of William F. Buckley says:

              Dr. Henson describes a de facto union system, while Ed, and others, proclaim Georgia does not have de jure union. Both points are correct.

              A de facto union can and does work in ways similar to a legal, dues paying union.

              Ask Roy Barnes about the lack of a teachers union if you doubt it exists.

            • Dr. Monica Henson says:

              Ed, it’s accurate because it describes teacher groups (such as GAE & GFT) that pressure the legislature for changes that would benefit the national interests of the NEA and AFT. It’s ridiculous for Georgia school employees to pay their hard-earned money to promote these two ultraliberal traveling shill festivals. However, freedom = freedom to stupid, naive, & misguided things.

      • Noway says:

        You’re right, it’s hugely frustrating. Does your defense of stopping the “screwing over of existing businesses” include protecting lawyers from Legal Zoom and veterinarians from PetMeds?

        • Noway says:

          Or, how ’bout protecting the newspaper and magazine business, which were all hugeeeeeeeee investments (Brick, mortar, all the things you cite…) on the part of their owners, from closing down because of that there newfangled internet? Give it up.

          • Charlie says:

            Lack of ability to collect sales taxes on internet sales do allow existing brick and mortar businesses to get screwed over, and I’ve been very consistent on the need to fix that, which will have to be done at a federal level.

            Otherwise, we continue to incentivize businesses out of state at the expense of those who invest and employ locally.

      • Boredatwork says:

        You knocked it out of the park with this one Charlie. Frankly, far too many resources are wasted on coming up with ways to avoid useful regulations and taxes (obviously many taxes and regulations do not qualify as “useful”). Uber is a creative idea, but it should not be given a competitive advantage by avoiding taxes and regulations by which companies that do the EXACT SAME THING are required to abide. Also, there are plenty of individually owned cab companies, and some people worked and saved for years to purchase a medallion. So casting this as an evil taxicab monopoly verse a small ($18 billion) startup isn’t exactly accurate.

  4. Noway says:

    This about the revenuers getting their share and the cabbies restricting competition. Wasn’t Bob Simon just killed in a cab in New York city just last week? How safe was that?

    • Charlie says:

      From the pic that I saw, it appeared he was using some sort of black car service.

      Regardless, see benevolus point. Which is that this is a red herring.

      • Noway says:

        Umm, see Buckley’s point, which provides info on what is necessary to drive for Uber…no red herring at all, but valid points. This is about Building a Better Mousetrap and gov’t’s plan to stop it.

        • benevolus says:

          This isn’t about Uber’s company policies. It’s about whether policies like that should be the minimum industry standard.

      • Teri says:

        FWIW, it was a car service, not a cab, and it was reported that, unfortunately, Simon was not wearing a seatbelt. The article (NYT, I think?) noted that not wearing a seatbelt is common practice in cabs and with car services – but that still doesn’t make it advisable.

  5. Jared says:

    So Powell’s standard for whether something should be regulated is whether he might one day read a tragic story about it in the newspaper? I guess he’s got a lot of regulating to do.

  6. georgiahack says:

    Maybe Powell should stick to regulating the adult entertainment industry. He has a lot more experience with that than Uber.

  7. Ghost of William F. Buckley says:

    Jon Richards you have listened to the policymakers and failed to fact check the insurance angle.

    Uber requires every driver to provide their proof of insurance for their vehicle. This covers a driver en route to a fare, in case of an accident. Uber obtained and keeps a $1MM Non-Owned Car, All Perils policy for each driver. This covers most conceivable accidents while carrying a fare. I have seen the ACORD certificate, btw.

    Plain and simple this Bill seeks to deny start-ups like Uber and Lyft a market, instead of resolving the root problem which is modifying the tax code to account for these revenues. It is easier to add a law than change tax code, I guess…

    Rep. Brockway nailed it on medallions, btw. If anyone thinks getting a medallion is based on how good a taxi driver you are needs to go back to Kansas, with Toto. The medallion system fosters a who-you-know, pay-to-play scenario utilized by some of the most unsavory of societal elements, in many other cities.

    In Chi Town area getting a tow truck medallion before having a tow truck yields a bank loan to buy the tow truck. It is that valuable.

    Wool, meet eyes. Pullover.

    • Jon Richards says:

      Ghost, I too have seen the ACORD binder of which you speak. In fact, it seems to me that Uber already complies with most of the insurance requirements mandated by HB 190. So, I guess I don’t see the big burden on ride share services if they are already in compliance with the proposed law.

      Please show me how either bill denies start-ups like Uber and Lyft a market. And the bill essentially grandfathers the existing taxi medallion system for taxis, doesn’t allow it to be applied to other modes of transportation, and doesn’t allow places other than Atlanta to start a medallion system. Anyone arguing that Uber is a victim of a medallion system is misinformed.

      • Ghost of William F. Buckley says:

        Jon, HB224 has lots of hoops, from keeping monthly lists of drivers, to penalty’s, to denying anyone who had a felony in the last ten years, that raise the hurdle to market entry. I can argue that these provisions are barriers to entry to a market.

        Some of these are good provisions, like zero tolerance for drugs/alcohol for drivers.

        Good rebuttal on medallions, let’s see what hits the floor.

        • Jon Richards says:

          Thanks for the credit on the medallion rejoinder. In talking with some of those who helped author the bill, there was a ton of other regulations that got thrown out of the final bill. Take that for what it’s worth. And you’re right, we need to see what happens in the committee process. Like the meeting scheduled in 20 minutes, in which Powell hopes to make his case.

  8. Dr. Monica Henson says:

    Interesting analysis, Jon, and helpful links and commentary. I don’t use Uber as much in Atlanta as I do in NYC and DC–but I like it vastly more than using a taxi. Several of my staff are young City of Atlanta residents who use Uber quite frequently.

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