The law couldn’t be clearer. Uber is operating illegally in Connecticut.
CGS (13b-97), states that…
“any person who (1) operates a taxicab without obtaining a certificate from the Department of Transportation pursuant to section 13b-97 or obtaining authority to operate a taxicab from holder of such a certificate, or (2) allows an unauthorized person to operate a taxicab, which is under such person’s control, shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.”
That a passenger punches a button on a smartphone, instead of ten buttons on a dial pad cannot take away the fact that Uber promotes rides, dispatches cars and collects money for their trouble. Nor can anyone credibly say the TNC driver and car are not ‘for-hire.’
Connecticut uses a combination of market management, sturdy fingerprint-based background checks and bi-annual taxi inspections to keep the public safe. But some fleets put 90,000 miles a year on their cars so the more professional fleet managers are inspecting their cars as much as every two weeks. Accordingly the elimination of any one of these safety components would be dangerous. As well third-party background checks are shown to fail to find criminality significantly.
CT Insurance Warning Issued…
Connecticut Department of Insurance issues warning to people thinking about driving for transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber or Lyft.
In the 2015 General Assembly…
The Department of Transportation testified they needed more time and information and a study was due out shortly. A driver testified, to the committee, that the blind 1 quintupling of the supply of taxies was causing him to continuously drive under dangerously fatigued conditions. *IMPORTANTLY* Connecticut has no safety rule to monitor and/or regulate fatigued driving.
The bill, out of committee, seemed to possibly pay homage to the safety rules by keeping them intact BUT, amazingly, only for the legacy taxi and livery provider. But then, suspending logic, the Committee decided, in the same document, that the cab services, drivers and cars using a hailing app would not have abide by those rules.
To their credit the State House, many surprised to learn much of anything about what goes into traveler safety, pushed to add many of the safety mechanisms back in. This was in the face of a hard-fought but disingenuous campaign to tell Representatives that the taxi lobby and the TNCs had negotiated an agreement.
Connecticut DOT Commissioner James Redeker relies, perhaps rightly, on his lieutenant, Transit Director Michael Sanders (the taxi and livery bureau head position has been empty for almost two years) to advise him on taxi and livery safety needs and Sanders is a robust long-time proponent of moving those regulation responsibilities to any other department such as DMV or Consumer Protection. Taxi and Livery used to be under the purvey of the Public Utilities Commission. Perhaps ConnDOT is too busy monitoring the safety of the rail, bus, highway, bridge and truck traffic to have to spend very limited resources on sedans for hire. CTRideSafe cautions readers not to let undercapitalization be the reason for retrying deregulation – the inspectors need do nothing but stand on a corner and push the app button and non-credentialed cabbies will pull right up to them. They can stop fifty a week easily.
How Uber operates…
Massport accuses Uber of ‘patently false’ Logan Airport charge
Uber is being accused of slapping riders with a Boston airport charge that is “patently false,” according to a letter from Massport – the latest state agency to get in a spat with the ride-sharing giant. “Massport requests an immediate explanation from Uber of the charges on its customers’ receipts,” a letter sent on Sept. 2 from Massport Acting Chief Legal Counsel Catherine McDonald to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.
Safety IS an issue…
“Digital hitchhiking, ” Four Uber Safety Myths:
Regulations are rules put in place to achieve social, political, environmental and economic outcomes that would otherwise not be achieved within an open marketplace. Subsequently, regulations are especially necessary when competition within a market has the potential to exploit consumers and harm society. In such instances, regulations are intended to benefit consumers and drive a healthier business environment.
While regulation may not be beneficial or necessary for other industries, history has proven time and again that the taxi industry is different. An unregulated taxi industry is harmful to everyone – consumers, driver and operating companies: most cities which had fully deregulated taxi service (in the 1970’s and ‘80’s) have since reverted to some form of control over market entry.
In just a matter of years, almost every city re-regulated its taxi market because:
- Prices for taxi riders increased.
- Vehicle quality decreased.
- Average age of vehicles increased.
- Fares became confusing and unpredictable to passengers.
- Taxi riders in low-density areas were neglected and access to 24/7 transportation became difficult.
New York City: Taxi & Limousine Commission’s chairwoman Neera Joshi:
“Our goal is safety, accountability and availability,” Ms. Joshi said in her pointed opening statement. “And these are protections that should be in place whether you get into a green, yellow or black car, you hailed it by hand or you picked up the phone or you used your smartphone.”
Chicago PD Warns of Robbers Posing at Uber Drivers.
Boston PD Chief: People knock our officers’ car doors thinking they are the Uber guy. “Unless we have markings, people can walk up to any car.”
Chicago’s differing regulations of Uber vs taxis may violate equal protection, judge says
Cab drivers in the city of Chicago have long claimed City Hall’s treatment of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, compared to how it treats the city’s taxi drivers, is unfair. Now, Chicago’s cabbies will have the chance to press that claim in court, after a federal judge said a lawsuit brought by taxi drivers asserting the city has more harshly regulated taxi drivers, while letting ride-sharing service providers off easy, potentially violating constitutional guarantees of equal protection under the law, may have some gas left in the tank.
Prosecutors: Uber hired drivers with criminal records
Uber hired 25 drivers in Los Angeles and San Francisco with criminal records ranging from property crimes, sex offenses and murder, prosecutors said on Wednesday. “We are learning increasingly that a lot of the information that Uber has been presenting the consumer has been false and misleading,” George Gascon, district attorney of San Francisco, where Uber is based, said at a news conference, the New York Times reports.
Sex offenders, convicted murderer find jobs at Uber
What do registered sex offenders, a kidnapper, identity thieves and a convicted murderer have in common? Aside from being societal deviants, they all passed Uber’s background checks in California. That’s according to a civil complaint filed against Uber by the district attorneys for San Francisco and Los Angeles. The document alleges that Uber misleads customers about their safety and the quality of driver background checks. It’s an amendment to a lawsuit filed in December against Uber.
Police: Uber driver’s real job may have been dealing drugs
An Uber driver may have been using his job for the past two years as a cover for his work as a drug dealer, police said. Artak Avakian, 23, was arrested at a home where a tipster told police of a prescription drug dealer. Avakian was released after posting $30,000 bail Wednesday and is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 13. After receiving the tip, police say detectives conducted surveillance on the residence and detained Avakian after observing him in a narcotics transaction on Thompson Avenue.
The cost of deregulation
Most Torontonians want Uber drivers held to same standards as cab drivers: poll
The majority of Torontonians want the city to establish new ridesharing regulations that would effectively hold Uber X drivers to the same standards as licenced cabbies, according to a new poll from Mainstreet Research. The automated telephone poll of 7,323 Canadians found most Torontonians (63 per cent) are in support of creating ridesharing regulations that would apply to services like Uber while only a small percentage of residents (14 per cent) believe Uber drivers should not have to follow ridesharing regulations that would hold them to the same standards as taxi drivers.
For Uber, Lyft riders with disabilities, discrimination often comes included
Michael Forzano, 24, doesn’t go anywhere without his yellow Labrador retriever. A software developer in Seattle, Forzano is blind, and in the five years he’s owned his guide dog, Delta, he has not once been denied entry into a business establishment. That was before he tried hailing an Uber ride. This year alone, he’s had seven Uber and Lyft drivers deny him service — and drive off without him and his service animal.
Uber drivers could earn thousands in benefits as full-time employees
According to a new analysis, Uber drivers in six major U.S. cities would receive paid holidays and health care benefits worth an average of $5,500 annually. Ever since the California Labor Commission ruled in June that former Uber driver Barbara Berwick should be considered an employee – not an independent contractor – there’s been speculation of what will happen if the $51 billion unicorn loses its ongoing appeal of the non-binding decision.
Do you want to help keep Connecticut roads safe?
While legislators across the country sit back and do nothing while laws are broken on a daily basis, companies like Lyft and Uber became more bold when it comes to recruiting drivers, circumventing laws and perpetuating insurance fraud.
Stand for a safer CT…