Regulations for new transportation companies negotiated

By: The Reminder

BOSTON – As one of six members of a legislative Conference Committee, state Sen. Don Humason helped negotiate a compromise bill focused on regulating transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft.

“In some areas of the state, including my district, transportation options are really limited. For that reason, it was important to me that we allow these innovative companies to continue to grow in order to meet our constituents’ unmet transportation needs,” said Humason. “I am proud of the bill we were able to produce, and I appreciate my colleagues’ inclusive and thoughtful approach to this process.”

The finalized bill would create a new division with the Department of Public Utilities, which would oversee regulations related to transportation network companies. Ride sharing drivers would be subjected to background checks by both the hiring company and the new division, as well as display state-issued decals on any vehicle used for ride-sharing services.

Additionally, the legislation includes a 20 cent surcharge per ride, which will be directed towards infrastructure repairs and improvements. Under the legislation, 10 cents of the surcharge would go directly towards infrastructure repairs in the municipality where the ride originated. MassDevelopment would receive 5 cents per ride to support small businesses that could be impacted by the industry, while the remaining 5 cents would go to MassDOT for statewide transportation improvements.

The bill gives authority to MassPort and the Boston Convention Center Authority to develop regulations regarding transportation network companies’ ability to retrieve passengers from their property.

“It is important to increase safety measures for passengers. However, I also voiced my concerns about the potential negative impacts of overregulation on the industry and Massachusetts’ reputation as a hub for innovation. I think we did a good job of balancing those two priorities in this bill,” Humason said.

Following unanimous approval in both the House and the Senate, the bill now goes to the Governor for his consideration.