Bill addressing regulations for rideshare companies like Lyft, Uber passes Senate committee

Posted at 9:03 PM, Mar 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-06 23:03:11-05

SALT LAKE CITY – Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have been at the center of controversy regarding transportation regulations in recent months, and on Friday a proposal that would address the issue was passed by the Senate Business and Labor Committee.

Lyft and Uber have had regulatory issues in many cities across the country, including Salt Lake City, as taxi companies have claimed the groups compete with their services but aren’t required to follow the same practices and standards cab companies do.

SB 294 is sponsored by Senator Stuart Adams, R-District 22, and it would provide exemptions to regulatory rules for the rideshare companies, and under the plan rideshare companies would be required to register with the Division of Consumer Protection. Those companies would be able to follow company policy on things like background checks and insurance.

Michael Amodeo, a spokesman for Uber, said the proposed legislation is a positive step for them and for consumers.

“Thousands upon thousands of folks in Utah are already turning to ridesharing services, like Uber, to move around town and make a living,” he said. “And what this legislation would do is create a sensible regulatory framework for ridesharing across the state of Utah.”

Amodeo said the proposed legislation is better for Uber than recent regulations passed by the Salt Lake City Council.

The rideshare companies would not be able to provide transit services to airports, as that service requires a more in-depth background check in order to grant cab drivers access to airport areas.

The proposal faced push-back from some in the taxi industry, who feel like Uber and Lyft are getting a better deal than those who provide taxi services and must follow regulations associated with that industry.

The proposed bill passed on a 5-1 vote in committee and will now go before the full Utah Senate.