Uber and taxis duke it out over level of regulation

Uber and taxis duke it out over level of regulation

Photo above by afagen with Flickr Creative Commons License

By Katelyn Newman

Capital News Service

With standing room only, the battle over the ridesharing “Uber bill” began in the state Senate Finance committee Tuesday.

Sponsored by Sen. Bill Ferguson, D-Baltimore, the bill would keep power in the hands of ridesharing companies to conduct their own drivers’ background checks and vehicle safety inspections rather than require state oversight.

It competes with a bill proposed by the state’s Public Service Commission that would hold companies like Uber and Lyft to the same standards that state taxi and limo drivers face.

Joined by fellow taxi operators, Baltimore Yellow Cab driver Andy Tedla, 62, said he opposes Ferguson’s bill because it gives ridesharing companies an unfair advantage with fewer regulations in the transportation market.

“I’ve been regulated for the last 23 years, it doesn’t bother me,” said Tedla. “We are not afraid of competition, but competition should be on the same playground.”

In response to opposition, Lyft driver John Morfaw, 54, said that these ridesharing companies enhance the free market for transportation.

“I get to move people around in a cost-effective way,” said Morfaw, who has worked for Lyft since November. “I really support (the bill) because they need to get qualified people to drive, move people around, and they should be in compliance with the law, too.”

Around 100 drivers and customers of the ridesharing companies came to Annapolis to show their support for the bill and the services of Uber and Lyft.

“It’s very convenient,” said Uber customer Jennifer Winfrey, 30, from Prince George’s County. “I’ve had experiences where waiting for a cab, it’s taken almost an hour just to get a cab ride home, where as with Uber it’s taken five, maybe 10 minutes at most.”

About The Author

Capital News Service

kdenny12@umd.edu

Capital News Service is a student-powered news organization run by the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism. For 26 years, we have provided deeply reported, award-winning coverage of issues of import to Marylanders. With bureaus in College Park, Annapolis and Washington run by professional journalists with decades of experience, we deliver news in multiple formats via partner news organizations, a destination Web site, a nightly on-air television newscast and affiliated social media channels (including Twitter and Facebook). We provide breaking news coverage, in-depth investigative and enterprise journalism, and serve as a laboratory for students to test and develop innovative new methods of reporting and telling stories. By providing a true newsroom experience to our students, we send them into the job market with real-world skills and the ability to shape the future of journalism. Only Merrill’s most motivated students are accepted into the Capital News Service program, and they go on to land internships and jobs at the nation’s finest news organizations: The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, the Associated Press, Politico, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, ProPublica, National Geographic, NBC News, The Dallas Morning News, the Washington City Paper, Washingtonian magazine, Money magazine, the Wall Street Journal and more.

1 Comment

  1. Adam Meister

    Deregulate the taxis also. Allow the free market to thrive.

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