Massachusetts Legislation Introduces Framework for TNCs

Lyft is considered a transportation network company (TNC). Photo via Wikimedia.
Lyft is considered a transportation network company (TNC). Photo via Wikimedia.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has filed legislation to institute regulatory framework for transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, according to a press release from Gov. Baker’s office.

Called “An Act Establishing Department of Public Utilities (DPU) Oversight of Transportation Network Companies,” the bill aims to embrace innovation in transportation, outline strong standards for industry and consumer safety and close potential insurance gaps.

“Governor Baker’s legislation will allow Uber to continue offering Massachusetts safe, reliable transportation options and opportunities to earn a living with greater flexibility,” said Meghan Joyce, general manager for Uber East Coast. “This bill would set into law for the entire industry many of the safety standards that have attracted riders and drivers to ride sharing, including $1 million of insurance on every ride and rigorous, mandatory background checks for all drivers. We thank Governor Baker and his administration for supporting riders and drivers and for promoting innovation in the Commonwealth.”

Key components of the legislation include a regulatory system enforced by the Department of Public Utilities; requirements like Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) background checks for public safety; adoption of standards negotiated in cooperation between insurers and TNCs; and a municipal advisory group.

“I thank the Baker Administration for taking a step forward in creating regulatory frameworks that incorporate transportation network companies into our existing for-hire transportation ecosystem,” said Martin J. Walsh, Boston’s mayor. “Over the past year, our Taxi Advisory Commission has closely studied the issues around creating diverse options for our consumers while maintaining the highest level of public safety. I look forward to the legislative process and am hopeful that we can move forward with regulations that place the safety of Boston's residents and visitors first.”

A phase-in period will be enacted to ensure current operations are not disrupted as the framework and regulations are developed and finalized, according to the press release.

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