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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

 12:57 PM 

Transportation advocates call for rejection of Uber bill unless significant changes

Ahead of today's debate on the bill, a coalition of transportation advocates today called on lawmakers to reject legislation that would create a statewide license for rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft.

The Wisconsin Coordinated Transportation Cooperative, led by longtime lobbyist Gary Goyke, argued the bill gives special treatment to companies such as Uber and Lyft while questioning whether the benefits backers claim -- such as increased service options in rural areas -- will come to fruition.

Under the bill, the Department of Safety and Professional Services would oversee the industry, which often operates through smart phone applications that are used to arrange rides. Companies would have to meet certain safety standards, including things like insurance requirements and a zero tolerance policy for drivers using alcohol or other intoxicants while logged into the ridesharing network.

Goyke questioned why oversight was given to DSPS, which the guv wants to merge with another agency, rather than the Department of Transportation. He also the rideshare companies did not face the same requirements as traditional taxi and limousine services for things like insurance and urged lawmakers to take out a provision that would pre-empt local ordinances regulating the industries.

"If rules are the same for all transportation companies in the state regardless of your trendy application, then yes," Goyke said when asked if any changes could be made that would win the group's support.


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