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State legislators to look at regulating Uber, Lyft and their ilk

WBUR reports how state legislator are jumping on the ride-share regulation bandwagon started by the Boston City Council.

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None of these actions are going to result in cheaper transportation than what we have now via Uber and Lyft.

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Just more convenient and reliable. That said, I refuse to use Uber now given how their creepy they are regarding user data and stalking that journalist.
http://techcrunch.com/2014/11/19/senator-al-franken-asks-ubers-ceo-tough...

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... coal and petroleum would be a lot cheaper if we didn't burden producers with safety regulations.

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an industry to the extent necessary to protect the public, while not excluding competition or innovation, and while not allowing the regulatory body to get owned by the industry it was intended to regulate, is a tricky balancing act.

Decades ago, when the medallion system was implemented in many cities, the rationale was that there was a fixed amount of taxi business to be had. Limiting the number of players kept rates high and therefore prevented a "race to the bottom" under which an oversupply of cabs would force fares ever lower, to the point where taxi companies would have to skimp on vehicle maintenance and driver quality (via low pay) to make a profit. It is obvious what that system has led to: rent-seeking, higher prices, and poorer service.

Airlines were once regulated under a similar scheme; the Civil Aeronautics Board divvied up the routes among carriers and regulated fares. Some have argued that the "race to the bottom" scenario is exactly what's happened in that industry since deregulation in the late 1970s. Fares have certainly gotten much cheaper, at least for leisure travelers, but at the expense of passenger comfort, and add-on charges for all kinds of stuff. I've seen claims that aircraft maintenance has suffered, but the truth remains that it's still one of the safest modes of travel out there.

I think a good, common-sense way to do it would be, "If you want to carry passengers for a fee, you need to background-check your drivers, file a rate plan with the city, carry a million dollars in liability insurance, and subject your vehicle to safety inspections. Anyone who can submit to that, can get licensed, and good luck."

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I've found Uber to be way more expensive then cabs. Uber is more comfortable, reliable, etc. But not cheaper by a long shot. Perhaps if they lowered the barrier to entry for cabs Uber would become less expensive.

The state should stay out of the regulation game except for insuring that the only people who can operate any type of livery car meet basic requirements: High insurance (1-2 Million), frequent auto inspection, and drivers who need to pass a rigorous license process to ensure a high skill level.

Outside of that it should be up to the market to decide everything else. The state should be interested in public safety.

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Which is what people seem to be talking about now when they refer to "Uber" (as opposed to the black car/SUV service).

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I've only used the "real" Uber.

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as cabs for me, never more. I never use any of their other services or any kind of SUV or town car service.

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I often have to take my brother who has mesothelioma and only one lung to appointments and have depended on cabs (I don't own a car and don't drive) and have waited and waited at times even when reserving one until my son got angry and told me to use Uber. (He lives near Uphams Corner and got sick of cabs refusing to go there and switched to Uber, has never gotten refused) Uber has been a BLESSING.

The price say from Tufts Medical to my house by cab is usually $10-12 plus tip. Uber Prius type is $7-8 and the SUV about $11. The ONLY time I have had to pay more and gratefully was getting home after radiation at Dana Farber on a Friday night and we got home (after being warned it would be more expensive) for $30 but I was not unhappy since we had already waited over an hour for a cab being told (and lied to) that cab was "on it's way" every 10 minutes. Cab from there is usually about $18 plus tip. The lesser price Uber to Dana Farber was $14.

So bless you Uber for making my life a bit less stressed.

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and more compliant with local laws Uber or Lyft?

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I'd rather keep my "dangerous" freedom and competitive market. The only real danger is to the taxi cartels.

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of laws that applies in ANY community in the state, instead of a possible "Cambridge allows X, but Boston doesn't." scenario.

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Uber simply lets you summon livery cars, which are already fully regulated.

It's UberX and Lyft that are not yet regulated.

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picking up at Logan with no permits.

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Before Boston City council last week, neither UberX nor Lyft pick up at the airport. Uber was really clear on this. Do you have any proof that any service other than Uber Black picks up?

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I see it almost every day. They go right to passenger pickup, not the limo stand and many a time do I see the poor freezing rider standing there when the car pulls up and the driver gets out and says the rider's name with that quizzical tone.

"Sandy?"

"Amir?"

Then the rider gets in the back seat.And Uber/Lyft gets their cut.Given the growing amount of evidence of the sleazy business practices of both companies, can you really find it easy to accept an explanation from one of the cult like minions from Uber?

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Take some pictures and report them to Massport.

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I have.

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It shows as "unavailable" on the app. I know because I've tried, since I didn't know it wasn't allowed. I assume some people try and request a different pick-up, then call the driver to change the location. That's they only way it could work. Calling to discuss location specifics is allowed, so it would be up to the driver to say no.

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Terminology is, of course, loaded: if you refer to UberX and Lyft as "ride sharing" services as opposed to, say, "livery dispatch services", you give the appearance of being in their camp, editorially. In the same way, AirBnB is either an "apartment sharing" service or a "temporary lodging" service.

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Sharing suggests the driver was "going there anyways". I shared my ride back from New York to Boston on the Sunday after Thanksgiving by picking up a friend on the way back.

UberX and Lyft aren't ride-sharing any more than any other cabbie ride-shares.

The same goes for apartment sharing. Couch-surfing is apartment sharing. You live there and you let someone stay on your couch for a night or two. Renting out your place to someone else on a per-night basis while you aren't there or because you own a few extra apartments isn't sharing them. It's hoteling or short-term leasing.

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I had this discussion with myself on a long drive recently...since I talk to myself on long drives when I'm the only one in the car.

Labeling UberX "ride sharing" was rather shrewd on Uber's part. Not very many people questioned it. But I was always scratching my head. Sidecar, a San Francisco based company, is a ridesharing service. You're literally sharing your "ride". I've had enough of Uber (never used lift). I've given them plenty of my money, but at the end of the day, they've skirted oversight for way too long.

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Many auto insurance companies are dispatching letters to their insured base making it CLEAR that they do not, and will not, insure motor vehicles that are being used for transportation of this nature.

This means that if the auto is engaged in an accident the passenger will have no claim against the driver's policy for injury or loss.

A relative of mine just received such a letter in the mail.

This would include Uber, Lyft, and likely the senior service called ITN.

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Most insurance companies want you to use your vehicle for money because it means you pay more for insurance.

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... only a warning that carrying passengers for hire under your basic owner-operator policy is not an an activity covered by such basic policy -- and cautioning yout that you need to buy additional insurance (or another type of insurance) if you want coverage for carrying passengers for hire purposes.

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Does it really matter? The additional coverage won't come cheap, I'm sure, and the whole "sharing economy" selling point is that you are simply using something you already have -- not incurring an additional expense in the hopes that you might get something back on it.

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If one can get appropriate coverage, and must in order to drive for Uber, etc., then the ride services are a bit more legitimate. Less money to be made -- or rates may need to increase to cover the increased insurance cost...

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You're completely missing the point. Given the likely rise in premium prices, "can not insure" = "will not insure".

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... which indicate some Uber drivers can and do get the necessary supplemental insurance coverage.

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I think if you're an UberX driver and you get in an accident with a passenger and that's not covered, then they are likely taking you to court to cover their medical costs. No thanks.

Or flipping it around, you break your leg in an UberX then the driver goes bankrupt instead of covering your medical bills.

Etc...

Insurance is super important.

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if you work for Lyft or UberX and you get in an accident while transporting passengers for pay, you and your passenger will not be covered by your insurance company.Period.

California is actually rolling out hybrid insurance, where you pay a slightly higher rate than standard insurance,but it covers you and the passenger while employed by UberX or Lyft.

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I have a friend who drives for Uber and carries a two tier insurance, with differen/higher coverage when he has a fare-paying passenger.

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That's a SHNS story, not WBUR. - Deehan

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People wouldn't be so happy about these various rideshare schemes if the MBTA ran reliably.

Stop grandstanding and get to work on that, mmmmkay?

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Do you really think that's the niche they're occupying in Boston? As a substitute for the MBTA? My impression was that people were using them in preference to cabs.

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If the more direct orange line buses ran later to my neighborhood I would be less likely to use Uber.

If you have your choice between a cab, Uber, or the T to get home in a reasonable amount of time, what is your pick?

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I drive for Uber ...many people I get use Uber in place of the MBTA ...many that are along the green line in all areas .. JP, Newton, Brighton, East Camb, etc

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