If you’ve never tried a rideshare service, such as Lyft and Uber, you may not be aware of the concept and how it’s different from a traditional taxi service. The idea is that you’re sharing a ride with the driver and other passengers to a similar destination. The concept also takes advantage of GPS devices, smartphones and social networks the make the process simple, convenient and to allow drivers and passengers to provide feedback on each other, thereby improving accountability.
The two major companies that provide rideshare services, Lyft and Uber, have been in the Phoenix area since 2012, making the Valley the 11th service area for Lyft and the 18th for Uber. Upon first coming onto the scene, the rideshare concept has faced some problems due to the lack of regulation typical of taxi drivers and other transportation services, but as of April, Arizona now has laws in place designed specifically for rideshare services. The laws are as follows:
- Rideshare drivers must have $250,000 of liability coverage to take passengers in the vehicle.
- Rideshare companies must perform criminal background checks on drivers
- The companies must inspect the vehicles.
- There is a zero-tolerance policy for drug and alcohol use by drivers.
Arizona became the ninth state to pass laws that establish guidelines for rideshare services, with Maryland following soon afterwards. Before the regulation took effect, the companies operated unlicensed and unregulated and drivers were issued citations up to $1,800 when caught providing a rideshare service. The Arizona Department of Weights and Measures, the department that regulates taxi drivers, stated just before the Super Bowl came to town that the citations would cease. Now that regulation is in place, rideshare drivers are free to work without fears of being ticketed.
Upon signing H.B. 2135 into law, Governor Doug Ducey stated that ”ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft are already booming businesses-rather than standing in the way of growth, we should be encouraging it.”