The Commute with Enterprise vanpooling service provided testimony at last week's Congressional hearing on “Examining the Future of Transportation Network Companies: Challenges and Opportunities.”
The hearing, part of the process to reauthorize the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, was held by the Highways and Transit Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In addition to Enterprise, other subject-matter experts testifying included the National League of Cities, The Transportation Alliance, and the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department.
Enterprise urged Congress to make new funding available to cities, counties, transit agencies, and municipal governments for innovative mobility solutions such as microtransit, commuter vanpooling, first/last mile connections, as well as for increasing rural access to jobs and healthcare. In addition, the company stressed the importance of allocating a significant portion of any new transit funds to the performance incentive formula designed to promote ridership and operational efficiency.
Enterprise also stated there is much to be gained from innovation in the transportation sector, notably expanded services, cost efficiencies and environmental benefits. However, the company strongly believes existing policies specifically designed to protect the public interest and consumer safety should not be rewritten simply because certain transportation providers have declared that they should be exempt.
To that end, Enterprise’s testimony stressed that clarity and parity in the marketplace is essential:
“Numerous terms are being used to describe new ways to access transportation – carsharing, ridesharing, ride-hailing, vanpooling, ride-matching, peer‐to‐peer rental, point‐to‐point rental, and the list goes on. It is essential that policy at all levels be consistent and tailored toward the underlying service being provided – regardless of the means that the service is provided. All these terms are used to describe the same three basic transportation services that have existed for decades and prior to the advent of smartphones:
1. For‐hire ride-hailing – Often referred to as Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), this business line, like traditional taxicabs and limo services, provides a service that the Associated Press has labeled ‘ride-hailing.’ A consumer pays to have a driver transport them from, and to, locations of the consumer’s choosing; and the driver intends to profit by providing the transportation to the consumer.
2. Carpools and Vanpools – The correct term for organized car and vanpools is traditional ‘ridesharing.’ It includes technology platforms that connect people who want to carpool; and vanpooling, which is the service of providing a large occupancy vehicle for people who want to commute together. In ridesharing, the driver of the vehicle is a volunteer and contributes to the cost of the transportation.
3. Car Rental/Carsharing – If you are paying someone to allow you to personally operate a vehicle you don’t own, whether for an hour, a day, a week or a month. This also includes peer‐to‐peer carsharing, where private individuals rent their vehicle to another private individual.”