The Connecticut Coalition for Safe Public Transportation “believes that public safety requires that all vehicles used to provide rides for hire should be regulated.”
The story of the transportation network companies (TNC) in Connecticut has been “amazing.” The 2015 Connecticut legislation season ended with an amazing win, by the cab industry, over a very stacked deck. Very special thanks go to the hard work done by members and lobbyists of the Taxi and Limousine Coalition of Connecticut (the owner of the DBA CTRideSafe/Connecticut Coalition for Safe Public Transportation).
CTRideSafe needs you on board RIGHT NOW to prevent travelers from getting hurt. We need you to endorse our message, donate and join our fight.
We need your help to work together to keep our lawmakers informed of the dangers of deregulation and to help each other learn best practices to best win following a 400% increase in the supply of taxi and livery cars in Connecticut. Stay up to date on events that you can help with, on apps you can adopt and best marketing and operating practices.
Your State lawmakers are gathering at community events all the time asking for your ideas. They had very little knowledge of the workings of the taxi and livery industry when it came time to vote last year and were thankful for our input. They listened to us and sometimes acted on behalf of passenger safety.
But they gather again in January to start the next legislative session and we have to be prepared to push for a level playing field again.
Will you help? Will you show up again? Will you write and call your legislators as you get the CTRideSafe alerts?
Many of you did all the above last year and we are confident you will do so again. But please make sure we have your email address.
Legislative Backstory: 2014 – 2015
Earlier on, operators were “amazed” to watch safety authorities stand by while non-credentialed operators flooded the state. After all Connecticut, and a thousand other markets, managed markets, fares, safety, insurance, drivers and operators for many decades. They must have had a reason. But CTRideSafe’s precursor members and lobbyists wrote many letters about rides provided by cars without credentials. None were answered.
But no one was stopping all the new cabs: Over 4,000 new TNC cabs are said to be now chasing the same number of $7-10 fares that only 1,100 professionally-operated cabs chased over the years. Authorities complained about lack of staff and funds but we told then-DMV Commissioner, Melody Curry, in a July 1, 2014 meeting, that all she had to do was push the button and gypsy cabbies would drive right to her.
Coalition operators were then ‘amazed’ when the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) told us they bought the premise that TNC cabs might not really be cabs. They didn’t tell us why. Connecticut Transportation Committee members were apparently dazzled by the concept of pushing buttons on an app, to order a cab, instead of the buttons on a phone.
We were amazed to learn anyone, let alone the authorities, would not see TNC cars and drivers as simply cabbies with a one-button phone number. Uber said they were only a technical means to connect passenger with illegal cabs and, even though Uber collected the call, dispatched the car and collected the money, all clearly laid out in Connecticut law. But ConnDOT and legislators alike ‘drank the cool aid.’ Amazing.
Seven months later, some veteran CTRideSafe lobbyists we were less than amazed when ConnDOT claimed that, while they might want to ‘do something,’ there were now too many TNC drivers invested in their bogus business model to start enforcing the laws without hurting all those people that bought new cars.
That same sense of protection did not apply, though, to the legacy cab companies when, at the July 1, 2014 meeting, DMV did begin to phase out their decades-long allowance of taxi managers to ‘plate’ independently-owned vehicles.
INFINITELY MORE AMAZING was the first bill out of the 2015 Transportation Committee. It put all the Uber-supplied language on top of the bill – verbatim – no limits, no rules, no insurance filing, no fingerprints. Amazingly, that same bill left in all the safety rules for the legacy taxi and livery operators to abide by. Maybe this was a nod that the lawmakers thought the safety rules were still important. But then they wrote in a firewall to make sure long-standing companies could never break all the safety rules like Uber could – even if they bought an app that fulfilled the requirements listed ‘above the firewall’. This could have only one affect – to ensure the credentialed cab companies would not be able to compete against the new TNC cab companies.
Somebody wanted to stack the deck in Uber’s favor.
Safety IS the Issue
Finally something ‘amazing’ in a good way: The Connecticut Coalition for Safe Public Transportation (CTRideSafe) successfully lobbied their legislators who woke up and tacked many of the safety rules back onto the TNC operators’ side of the bill. Then, with the bill still lacking a strong, fingerprint-based background check (non-government, no-fingerprint backgrounds fail to find criminality 43% of the time), the State Senate elected to put off calling for a vote on the floor.
Amazingly Uber’s lobbyists at Brown Rudnick would not simply agree to finger-print based background checks and medical exams – both amazingly important to passenger safety. They must be worried that as the Uber drivers’ margins sink and it begins to ‘sink in’ that, while their 2014 car hits 110,000 miles, the repair and fuel bills stack up and their business model just doesn’t pay – that having their cab drivers wait a quarter-year for a Public Service endorsement, pay $5,000 for for-hire insurance and $200 more for a medical every two years – just isn’t worth it.
Moving forward, CTRideSafe needs to have you meet your legislators as they hold public forums before the General Session starts in January. Help us bring our message to them.
TNCs and the Network Effect: In this webinar, at the 8:00 minute mark, Deem president Patrick Grady explains the benefits of participating in a single networked, integrated app platform, along with the singular core concept that is driving the explosive growth of globally scaled apps like Uber, eBay, Amazon, Google and Alibaba.
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.
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