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Bill would let Lyft, Uber keep picking up at airport and convention center

The Boston Business Journal reports state legislators reached accord late last night on a bill that would not bar ride-hailing services from the two locations but would add a 20-cent fee to every ride for a new state office to oversee the services and ensure riders go through background checks. Lawmakers rejected a bid by taxi operators to make ride-hailing drivers also get fingerprinted.

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The article doesn't mention this but Uber and Lyft are barred from Logan pickups still. Massport only allows vehicles-for-hire to pick up if they have commercial livery plates. Uber does have that option and will dispatch commercial liveries to pick up people at the airport and pay the UberX rate. Lyft does not work with commercial livery vehicles so they cannot do Logan pickups at all. Massport could change this designation and allow Uber and Lyft to fully operate there, an option that would not have been possible if the Legislature passed the discussed bill to ban them. Essentially, the Legislature could have overidden Massport's authority here but chose not. Now it's on Massport to negotiate a deal with Uber and Lyft as other airports in the country have done.

http://www.boston.com/news/business/2016/08/01/uber-lyft-state-house-bill

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If I'm reading this correctly, the outcome of this bill for Boston Uber/Lyft passengers is.....nothing! Actually, it's a new 20cent surcharge on all rides, because, ya know, why shouldn't there be?

The ONE thing needed to both alleviate congestion at the airport & streamline efficiency (so drivers could drop-off & pick-up quickly) was to officially allow Uber/Lyft at the airport, but this bill doesn't do that. Yes, it appears that they can now negotiate with Massport on a deal, but that means something like another $2 pick-up fee (for no reason & just because Massport holds all leverage). Any other ways Beacon Hill can stifle innovation & add additional fees to residents in their 20s & 30s?

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Massport will probably cut a deal with Uber/Lyft to add the Logan surcharge that they include on commercial liveries and taxis. That'd be my guess. As someone that wants to see both do pickups at Logan, it's at least good this bill didn't slam the door on that.....

TIL Uber adds its own surcharge, $3.50 I think, for UberX trips TO Logan, to offset return tolls since UberX drivers will leave Logan without a fare in the current system.

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in question here is paid by Uber/Lyft themselves, and can't be passed on to drivers or riders, as per the rare useful article from BDC. Easily skirted by raising base rates to a new "market" rate (that they effectively control), but worth noting.

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Adam Vaccaro is the one person on boston.com worth reading. He does actual reporting and deep dives on these issues. He did good work on the Boston 2024 stuff too. I'm surprised he hasn't been poached yet by some other outfit. And no, I'm not a relative or friend of his. ;-)

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The riders would need background checks?
Well that's gonna get funny in a hurry.
*slew of vetted drivers w no riders*

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Adam must have been typing this one up before his morning coffee...it's the kind of thing I'd do before coffee, certainly.

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In other markets (like Austin, TX) fingerprinting requirements imposed by regulators have been the death knell for Uber and Lyft, who were unwilling to have their drivers do it. I wonder why the taxi operators wanted it...

I'm very glad it wasn't included. I get more infuriated with Boston cabs everytime I use one (now limited to leaving the airport). No GPS, no knowledge of city landmarks, unclear toll/mileage/time counting, double or triple the cost, and often unpleasant drivers. I know 98% of this is caused by awful conditions imposed by the medallion system, so it's probably time to fix that instead of eliminating the competition.

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Baker will surely veto this bill, since it imposes a 20 cent fee on each ride, and he promised no new taxes or fees. T riders already got a huge fee increase for using the T, surely he wont break his promise AGAIN and sign a law adding a 20 cent per ride fee (for context, drivers have had the gas tax increase of only 3 cents-less than 1/6th of this- over the past few decades).

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My best guess is Baker will sign it. Uber and Lyft haven't balked as much at the fee-per-ride, they were supportive of its inclusion in the Senate bill. Uber and Lyft already operate under these in other cities, nothing new to them. Baker can defend the cost as avoiding an unfunded mandate - helping to pay for the state to conduct its background checks and also municipal oversight, as the cost will be divvied up among them.

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Due to inflation, the gas tax has essentially decreased over the past several years.

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In order to 'preserve the voice of the residents' Rep Moran of Brighton successfully stymied Mayor Walsh's attempt to regain city control over issuing liquor licenses for Boston.

If you can believe it, this guy took lots of money from liquor distributors and then claimed that the elected mayor of Boston wasn't representative enough for us.

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He says Reps are more responsive to residents than a City Councilor because they represent fewer constituents. Well, I e-mailed him about this and haven't heard back at all. Typical.

Typical parochial, I need the power, I take the money BS.

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TIL He and not Kevin Honan was my Representative. I also learned that despite the fact that Kevin Honan lives 1 block from my house he is not my Representative because his district literally wrap around his house and excludes most (but not all) of my street ....

At least Kevin comes the Park BBQ.

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OMG EVERYBODY GUESS WHAT POLITICAL PARTY HE'S IN

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dominates both parties.

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If there has to be a tax, I would want it to go to something useful, like transit or road improvements. Not a whole new bureaucracy that will accomplish nothing.

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Requiring background checks seems logical, but isn't for two reasons;

- Nobody will put in writing what past crimes will eliminate a driver from eligibility. Without clarifying that, in writing, this argument seems hollow to me.

- Unlike a taxi, where riders might hop into any yellow/white car that stops on a street corner, you used your phone/app to hail an Uber, and Uber sent the driver. You have a picture of the driver and their car before they arrive. So if a rider was (unfortunately) to be assaulted, the system knows exactly which car/driver was sent to that location.

That said, I sure am glad our legislators accomplish their work after midnight on Sunday night, just like they were 11th graders hoping for a B-.

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Yes you can find out the identity after the crime with Uber, but that doesn't do much good for the passenger that was stolen from/raped/assaulted/murdered.

My problem with background checks is when they only check the state records. But even that is better than nothing.

I'm a Girl Scout leader and because I review other volunteer's CORI paperwork, I get CORI'd every year. It's not a big deal at all (other volunteers do it every 3 years).

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A few points:

If the bill addresses insurance requirements and public safety needs, then I'm for it.

By comparison, in New York City, Uber & Lyft (and Gett, and Via) drivers are required to:
-be fingerprinted & obtain a TLC license
-register their car with TLC plates
-have a valid Black Car permit for the vehicle

You don't hear Uber or Lyft complaining about that, because they wouldn't be allowed to operate in the country's biggest market otherwise. These companies were not 'forced out' of Austin; they threw a corporate hissyfit after spending $9m on an election and losing. And they wanted to spin that loss as something that would intimidate other cities and states into letting them operate without regulation.

The balkanized medallion 'systems' in Greater Boston will continue to guarantee shitty service, filthy cabs, and overall inefficiency. In the Albany, the CDTA is taking over cab service in its service area and introducing regional requirements. This should have been done in Boston decades ago -- not that the MBTA would have been the right agency.

Uber and Lyft will partially solve the problems with on-demand transportation in Boston. But they will leave lower-income residents, people with disabilities, and anyone without a smartphone in the lurch.

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I don't see Uber and Lyft's insurance situation as a problem that needs to be addressed.

Medallion cabs, on the other hand -- it's a nightmare. They carry the state minimum of $20,000 per person/$40,000 per accident. Good luck having that cover your hospital bills if you get hit by a cab while you're crossing the street.

Some taxi companies are self-insured. So you don't even have the benefit of working with a reputable, licensed insurance company -- you get to deal with the taxi company directly.

And taxis are generally owned by a tangled nest of shell corporations, so you can't seize the taxi company's assets if you win a suit against them, the biggest ones being the medallions, which are often used as collateral in loans so there isn't much equity.

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So 10/28/16 the new tolls rules are effective and Uber didn't mention the changes the drivers would see so now the tolls are split in half one half going to logan airport and the other half leaving the airport so non commercial vehicles still pay $3.50 in total $1.75 each way. But us commercial drivers pay $2.65 each way here's the kicker going to work at Logan Airport to pick up passengers costing $2.65 to get there with no passenger I work there so on an avg day I make 10 runs this is costing me $26.50 a day to go back and forth 10 times now times this 7 days a week! The passenger is paying only $2.65 now plus the $3.50 "airport passenger fee " to massport wich at one point was called incentive for the drivers, massport keeps this! There is no incentive! On top of driving back to the Airport without a passenger and spending gas and milage now we gotta pay for tolls! This is so corrupt!
But no one cares as long as these politicians hop in an Uber pool and pay $3.00 for a $17.00 ride it's all good let's keep Uber going and squeeze $0.20 cents more out of them at the end of the day it's not actually from Uber it's "just from the driver " the race to the bottom...

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