Lawmakers Reach Late-Night Compromise on Ride-Hailing Apps
State lawmakers reached a late-night compromise over proposed regulations for app-based ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft Sunday night, finagling a delicate balance between public safety and innovation.
The compromise bill, which still requires a few favorable votes in the House and Senate before arriving on Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk, would impose a 20-cent per ride surcharge: 10 cents would be returned to city or town where the ride originated for infrastructure improvements, five cents toward MassDOT for statewide projects, and the remaining five earmarked for MassDevelopment grants to help improve technology in the taxi industry.
“I think it will help all of the parties that have been involved in this process. I think that it is innovative. I think it could be a model for the other states in the nation dealing with this. And I think it’s very fair and balanced,” Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen Spilka told the State House News Service.
Most notably, the bill would not ban Uber and Lyft from operating at Logan Airport or the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, after House lawmakers called for a five-year ban on pickups there to protect taxi drivers. While law enforcement officials and the taxi industry pushed for mandatory fingerprinting, legislators opted for a system that would require both the ride-hailing companies and a newly formed division of the Department of Public Utilities to conduct criminal background checks.