Albany Considers RideSharing Options
How best to regulate the burgeoning Ridesharing industry is one of the key issues of unfinished business as the Legislature seeks to make a quick election year exit out of Albany and prepare for the pivotal November elections for control of the State Senate. The issue is also of more than passing interest to many credit unions that want to make sure that their members who choose to become Uber or Lyft drivers have adequate insurance in the event of an accident and because Albany’s actions may well impact the value of taxi medallions financed by some institutions.
Capital Tonight’s Morning Memo reports what has been rumored for weeks: that the legislature is considering backing away from the idea of imposing a statewide system of ridesharing insurance regulation and is instead moving toward allowing individual localities to authorize the purchase of required insurance policies. It reports that Assembly Democrats conferenced on the issue yesterday. It also quotes a Uber spokeswoman as saying that: “ While a statewide comprehensive regulatory framework is best for New Yorkers who are demanding ridesharing…allowing ridesharing activity to be covered by insurance policies that are up to ten times higher than local cab companies would allow communities to start welcoming flexible economic opportunities and better transportation options.”
It’s always dangerous to speculate about what may or may not happen in Albany before an actual bill has been introduced. After all, many strange things can happen in the wee small hours of the morning when most of the really important stuff gets negotiated. But we may have the makings of a classic political compromise. Upstate Mayor’s like Albany’s Kathy Sheehan argue that ridesharing would be a boom to local businesses whose patrons are handicapped by a lack of transportation options. Conversely , NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has been less than enthusiastic about Ridesharing. NYC’s established system of Medallion cabs could be undermined by statewide regulation of livery insurance
Whether any of these machinations have an impact on the price of medallions remains to be seen. Here some of the latest sales information provided by the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission.