Cheh introduces legislation deregulating fares for taxis dispatched through mobile applications

The legislation also outlines regulatory requirements for ridesharing services in the District

Washington, D.C. – Last Friday, Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), Chair of the Committee on Transportation & the Environment and Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) introduced legislation that makes significant enhancements in safety and consumer protections for mobile dispatch and ridersharing services passengers by mandating them to (1) perform background checks on their drivers; (2) maintain commercial insurance for drivers; and (3) establish and maintain zero-tolerance policies for drugs and alcohol.  Additionally, the legislation seeks to enhance fair and equitable competition between Transportation Network Applications Companies (e.g. Lyft and Sidecar), mobile-dispatch services (e.g. Uber and Hailo), and taxicabs by deregulating the fares for taxicabs dispatched through mobile applications.

“Here in the District we should embrace innovation in transportation services, while ensuring that the safety and affordability of such services are among our top priorities,” said Grosso. “This legislation levels the playing field.  It strengthens and relaxes certain requirements for both digital dispatch and taxicab services to encourage innovation and competition in the marketplace, to promote safety and standardize existing regulations.”

“Currently, taxicabs in the District that are dispatched through mobile applications like Uber and Hailo do not enjoy flexibility as to how their fares are set,” said Cheh.  “Under this legislation, the District would no longer require the regulation of fares for taxicabs dispatched through mobile applications. Deregulating this aspect of taxicab service in the District will benefit both consumers and drivers alike by providing increased competition and promoting consumer choice. Additionally, by providing a clear regulatory framework for ridesharing services in the District, we can ensure that these regulatory requirements are more in line with existing safety requirements for taxicabs service, which we created with the goal of guaranteeing passenger safety.”

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