MarchReport-toFlip - page 5

By Andrew L. Smith
O
n Dec. 22, 2015, Ohio Governor, John Kasich, signed
House bill 237, which allows the Public Utilities
Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to regulate ridesharing
companies in Ohio, including Uber and Lyft. The bill takes ef-
fect later this month on March 21, 2016. This article will explore
the background of the ridesharing industry and the current
status of regulations across the country, with a focus on the new
Ohio bill.
Ridesharing Explained
By way of background, “ridesharing” is a service arrang-
ing one-time, shared rides on very short notice. This type of
carpooling generally makes use of three technological advances:
GPS navigation devices to determine a driver’s route and ar-
range the shared ride, smartphones for a traveler to request a
ride from wherever
they are located,
and social networks
to establish trust
and accountability
between drivers
and passengers.
Unlike traditional
taxi companies,
almost anyone can drive for a ridesharing service. All a driver
needs is a car and a smartphone app.
Ridesharing has been highly controversial, criticized as lack-
ing adequate regulation, insurance, licensure, and training. One
of the main ridesharing firms, Uber, is banned in Berlin and a
number of other European cities. Opposition may also come
from taxi companies and public transit operators because they
are seen as cheaper, unfair, competitive alternatives.
Uber is the largest ridesharing provider, valued at $50 bil-
lion. It is available in 58 countries worldwide. Uber averages
30 million rides per month and operates throughout Ohio,
including Akron, Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton,
and Toledo. Lyft is the second largest company. It averages more
than two million rides per month, and is valued at $2.5 billion.
It is available only in 30 of the continental United States. Lyft
also operates in Akron, Bowling Green, Cleveland, Cincinnati,
and Toledo.
Insurance Coverage Gap?
In 2013, an Uber driver hit and killed a 6-year-old pedes-
trian in San Francisco. The driver was not carrying a passenger,
but he did have the app turned on. At that time, Uber provided
commercial insurance
to its drivers while they
were carrying passengers,
but not when the app was
turned on and awaiting
passengers. The family
filed suit against Uber
in January 2014 in the
San Francisco Superior
Court. See Liu v. Uber Technologies, Case No. CGC 14 536979,
California Superior Court, San Francisco. A settlement was
reached with Uber in July 2015, but filed under seal, of course.
Insurers and critics alike argued this created an “insurance
coverage gap” since a personal policy would not apply if the
app was on, since the driver is engaged in commercial activ-
ity. Uber’s policy wouldn’t apply either, since the driver is not
Ridesharing Regulations
Arrive in the Buckeye State
Ridesharing has been highly controversial,
criticized as lacking adequate regulation,
insurance, licensure, and training.
March 2016 CBA REPORT
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