Governor Signs Bill to Regulate Uber and Lyft Into Law

Governor Hogan signed legislation yesterday to create a regulatory framework for transportation network operators (TNO) such as Uber and Lyft. SB 868  also authorizes local jurisdictions to impose an assessment on TNOs operating within the jurisdiction.

As reported by the Washington Post,

The Uber bill authorizes the Maryland Public Service Commission to regulate Uber, Lyft and other app-based ride services operating in the state. Hogan’s signature makes Maryland the latest jurisdiction in the region to set regulations for the growing industry, ending months of uncertainty about its future in the state.

The original bill drew opposition from many groups, but after a series of worksessions and amendments, all are now in support.

Rideshare and traditional taxi and sedan companies support the legislation. They say it provides a comprehensive regulatory framework that ensures reliable insurance protections and safety for the public.

Under the law, the public service commission will regulate the new transportation industry, and issue licenses to the companies and their drivers. The companies must prove they have a stringent background check system that requires fingerprinting of all drivers. Additionally, they would need to have insurance policies that protect consumers and other drivers.

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.