Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a new legislative proposal to expand access to ridesharing services throughout New York. Currently, a number of ridesharing companies have successfully operated as livery services in New York City over the last several years, however, these companies are not authorized to provide ridesharing anywhere else in the state.
“Ride sharing is bringing transportation into the 21st century and we are committed to ensuring that it becomes a reality statewide,” Governor Cuomo said. “It provides economic opportunity and a cost-effective alternative to transportation, and we must ensure that all residents outside of New York City have access to its benefits. This action will spur economic development across upstate and further position our upstate cities as cities of the 21st century.”
The current limitations on the availability of ridesharing services has meant that millions of New Yorkers are not only missing out on an alternative form of transportation, but thousands more are being prevented from pursuing new flexible job opportunities as rideshare drivers.
Governor Cuomo is fighting to correct this inequity by putting forth a proposal that expands the availability of this service to all New Yorkers by establishing a uniform statewide regulatory framework that will be overseen by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The proposal includes:
- DMV licensing and oversight of rideshare companies, including providing DMV with broad auditing powers to ensure uniformity in access for all New Yorkers and compliance with all laws, rules and regulations;
- Establishing minimum standards for rideshare companies to vet their drivers including requiring background checks, explicitly disqualifying people with certain convictions from driving to ensure rider safety, and requiring ongoing monitoring for traffic safety;
- Setting necessary consumer protections that ensure passengers receive information, such as driver identification, details of the car, and estimated fare, prior to engaging in a ride. Rideshare drivers must also display distinctive signs on their vehicles identifying the rideshare company they work for;
- Requiring rideshare companies and/or rideshare drivers to obtain and maintain insurance coverages that are double the current auto insurance limits in upstate New York and have a limit of at least one million dollars of coverage while a rideshare vehicle is on the way to pick up a passenger and while transporting a passenger;
- Establishing the first of its kind mechanism to provide rideshare drivers workers' compensation coverage by requiring participation in the Black Car Fund, which currently provides workers' compensation coverage for downstate taxi and livery drivers;
- Mandating rideshare companies adopt a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy and enacting common sense requirements to ensure drivers are performing in the safest way possible for both drivers and riders. This includes requiring rideshare companies provide a mechanism for passengers to report complaints when they reasonably believe a driver to be under the influence;
- Applying anti-discrimination requirements to ensure no passenger is discriminated against on the basis of his or her race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic predisposition and are treated equally by rideshare companies and drivers; and
- Creating a task force to review, study and make recommendations regarding accessibility needs in the rideshare industry in an effort to protect and provide transportation to vulnerable populations