Ever since the rise in popularity of ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, there has been constant calls for heavy regulations by many who take the side of big government. Prior to these types of services, taxi cab companies ultimately had a complete monopoly on the entire industry.
With the extremely expensive medalians which the local and state governments controlled how many would be offered, the “other options,” ride sharing services have generated billions of dollars worth of revenue. With the better service, cleaner cars, faster service, and cheaper prices, for many the decision to opt out of using a taxi cab is oftentimes a rather simple one.
In the past, grassroots, informal organizations of citizens have done a fantastic job at rallying together when necessary to prevent regulations which in some cases would completely ban ride sharing services in a given municipality. With the vast popularity of the services, it has proven to be very difficult for cities or towns to outright ban the method of transportation, due to the reliance of their constituents on their services.
But now there is a new battle ongoing in Maryland which could put the availability of the ride sharing services at great risk, despite not being outright banned. Maryland is looking to become the first state which would require all drivers for the companies to pass a background check which includes fingerprinting.
Whether or not this decision comes to fruition will be based off of a decision from the Maryland Public Service Commission, they are expected to announce this week what they will do regarding this situation. Should they decide to add this requirement, Uber has already stated they will no longer serve within Maryland.
The regional general manager of Uber Tom Hayes issued a statement saying, “We will unfortunately be unable to continue operating in the State of Maryland if a waiver is not granted and drivers are forced to overcome additional barriers to work.”
There are currently 30,000 drivers who operate within the State of Maryland, many of which drive for the company full time. The other major ride sharing company, Lyft on the other hand, has not threatened to completely move out of the state. However, they have spoken out against the regulation, calling the fingerprinting, “decades-old technology with significant limitations.”
The argument in favor of the regulations claims the criminal background checks undertaken by the two companies are full of flaws which may potentially put consumers are risk.
What do you think? Should Maryland lawmakers regulate Uber and Lyft even at the risk of regulating the companies out of existence within the state? Let HYPELINE know what you think in the comments!
(h/t Washington Post)