Legislation to create a regulatory framework for transportation network operators (TNO) such as Uber and Lyft passed in the last few hours of the General Assembly session. As amended, SB 868 would also authorize local jurisdictions to impose an assessment on TNOs.
As reported by the Washington Post,
With this legislation, lawmakers ensure a future for ridesharing in the state while addressing concerns raised by other transportation services.
In addition to allowing the services to operate in the state, the legislation sets rules related to minimum insurance coverage and requires the companies to conduct criminal background checks on their drivers.
In discussing the bill, its sponsor, Senator Bill Ferguson, said the following:
It establishes “a new, more flexible framework for Transportation Network Companies like Lyft and Uber and provides predictability in the marketplace so that these companies can grow,” he said. “The negotiations also led to enhanced flexibility for existing transportation companies to ensure that the marketplace is fair and competitive.”
As mentioned above, the bill would also authorize local jurisdictions to impose an assessment on TNOs. With the exception of Baltimore City, local jurisdictions would be authorized to impose a 25 cent per ride assessment. Baltimore City currently imposes a 25 cent per passenger, per ride assessment on taxi cabs and would be authorized to impose the same assessment on TNOs. Other language would authorize those jurisdictions that currently regulate taxi cabs to impose the assessment and establishes a “right of first refusal” process in counties and municipalities that currently do not.
The bill is currently being reviewed for the Governor’s signature.