Guest editorial: Let’s get our facts straight on ride-sharing companies like Uber, Lyft
September 1, 2015
In response to Diania Turner’s "Letter to the Editor" ("Local Taxi Companies Are Getting Shortchanged") in the Aug. 29 edition of The Park Record, she makes several incorrect statements and I would like to address those discrepancies.
While it is correct to state that prior to implementation of State Bill 294 (http://goo.gl/7EEnMn ) the majority of Uber and Lyft Partners were operating "outside of the law", since it went into effect on May 12, all Uber and Lyft Partners are 100 percent compliant with the State Law as it relates to operating in Park City/Summit County. As per Section 13 51 109 (Line #355), the State Bill "supersedes any regulation of a municipality, county, or local government regarding a transportation network company (TNC), a transportation network driver, or a transportation network service" so Park City and Summit County are unable to enforce the same rules for "For Hire" transportation as they can with Uber and Lyft. As a result, it is incorrect to state that Park City is doing nothing.
As a matter of fact, many Uber and Lyft Partners are also fully licensed "For Hire" transportation companies that have partnered with Uber and Lyft to further improve their bottom line. In addition, many Uber and Lyft Partners do in fact display the appropriate company’s "trade dress" — even though it is not required. I would encourage EVERY "For Hire" transportation provider to consider joining Uber and Lyft.
There is nothing stopping Fastaxi or other traditional transportation companies from developing an "app based" transportation platform, which would then allow them to "play by the same rules as Uber and Lyft." The truth of the matter is, the transportation industry has evolved. No longer does someone want to pick up the phone and call for a ride. They would rather push a button on their phone, be able to share their route with friends/family, split the fare on their phone with their friends, and see the exact ETA (and follow them enroute to the pick up) of the driver.
I do agree with Diania, that the city should make a better effort to enforce the current "For Hire Transportation" ordinance, as the "For Hire" industry is one of the most important industries in our community (outside of tourism and hospitality providers). As an example, there are numerous properly licensed "For Hire" transportation companies that do not follow the Park City Municipal Codes (http://goo.gl/OP2yFw. Starting on Page #121): Section 4 15 5 ("For Hire Vehicle Permits for All Vehicles Authorized Under Business License") there are several non TNC that do not have the proper "Park City Decal." Section 4 15 13 ("Display of Charges") by failing to display their charges and leaving the passenger to negotiate their own fares. Section 4 15 9 ("Background Checks") by allowing drivers that have not cleared the required background checks to drive for their company. I am aware at least one driver for an existing (and well established) local taxi company that cannot pass the required background check (Section 4 15 9 of the Park City Municipal Code) as they recently completed parole for an Assault charge that occurred three years ago. This driver attempted to apply for Uber, but as they told me directly, they failed the background check.
The city does nothing to check the Drivers — instead relying on the company to verify and vouch for the driver’s background.
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In summary, Uber and Lyft are "100 percent Legal" in the State of Utah, including Park City and Summit County. I would encourage everyone to try these new services and make the judgement for themselves for which they prefer.
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