How other cities handle ride-sharing rules

The County Commission is still working through ride-sharing rules for services like Lyft and Uber, neither of which are technically allowed under current Miami-Dade County regulations. The New Tropic is hosting a free happy hour workshop, sponsored by our friends at Lyft, tomorrow to get your input and share it with commissioners. Come talk transit with us! 

Two weeks ago, the Broward County Commission approved sweeping changes to regulate ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber. In Miami-Dade, these services remain technically prohibited, even though there is no shortage of ride-sharing drivers on the roads—and no shortage of demand. As Miami-Dade officials grapple with how to handle ride-sharing, let’s take a look at how other governments have chosen to deal with these new services.

Broward County: Broward County legalized ride-sharing last month, but attached additional insurance requirements and background checks onto their law that Uber says preclude the company from operating in the county.

Under Broward’s policy, ride-share drivers must submit to background checks that include fingerprinting, carry 24-hour commercial insurance, and get enhanced professional vehicle inspections. The Broward law also prohibits services from hiring drivers with serious criminal offenses on their records or a poor driving history.

Orlando: In December, Orlando’s City Council passed rules that set a minimum $2.40 per mile rate equivalent to taxis, requires a vehicle permit of $250, and requires driver background checks. As of a month ago, only nine permits have been issued, and the city had issued four citations.

New York City: In New York, Lyft and Uber have tweaked their business models to comply with regulations for cars-for-hire from the Taxi and Limousine Commission. Essentially both services only use professionally licensed and registered drivers in New York.

Washington, D.C.: Washington, D.C. passed new rules to regulate app-based ride services back in October. The rules require drivers to carry commercial insurance of at least $1 million while they’re driving passengers. When a driver isn’t carrying passengers but is on-duty, she or the service is required to provide insurance coverage. The companies must be registered with the D.C. Taxicab Commission, which enforces the rules, and vehicles must be inspected annually.

California: California was the first state to regulate ride-sharing services, way back in 2013. The state’s Public Utilities Commission requires ride-sharing companies to be registered with the commission, to carry commercial insurance with minimum coverage of $1 million per-incident, and to conduct criminal background checks on drivers.

But, the state laws haven’t solved all the local issues in California. Los Angeles and San Francisco threatened ride-sharing companies under a limousine law that forbids multiple riders being charged for the same ride. The San Francisco airport worked out a deal to allow ride-share drivers to pick up passengers at the terminals, and Los Angeles is weighing similar proposals.

Lyft and Uber are still lobbying for a statewide solution in Florida, but their chances diminished greatly when the state House of Representatives shut down its session early without passing two proposed bills. The bills would have passed statewide insurance and background check requirements and overrided local regulation. Uber is petitioning the legislature to pass the laws during its special session.

Philadelphia: In January, Pennsylvania approved ride-sharing services to operate an experimental license throughout the state — except in Philadelphia. Philly is the only city that has its own regulator over taxi services, the Philadelphia Parking Authority, which claims the services are illegal and is still impounding cars from ride-shares. Still, UberX has provided more than 1 million rides in the city.

Boston: Boston, like Miami, has taken a mostly hands-off approach to regulating ride-sharing services, and now the Massachussets governor has proposed a law to allow them to operate under a new kind of license. The law would require ride-sharing services to be licensed through the state, require two background checks for drivers and would ban drivers with criminal records. Drivers would have to be properly insured and cars would be subject to an annual inspection. The companies would pay a tax to cover the costs of regulation.


What do you think? How should Miami-Dade commissioners handle these new services? Let us know below or join us on Thursday!

By rebekah monson
Rebekah Monson is the co-founder of WhereBy.Us, and she oversees technology and editorial strategy.

  • Cary Macleod

    I have not read the New Tropic before, I see that that journalism has no place at The New Tropic. When I saw this sentence at the begginning of this article about ride sharing companies like LYFT “The New Tropic is hosting a free happy hour workshop, sponsored by our friends at Lyft” I am glad that they are upfront so that I don’t have to waste my time reading anything from them as they are intertwined with those they report on. The New Tropic seems to be an advertising publication or propaganda arm for whoever is willing to pay.
    If the New York times had an article started an article with, The U.S. Senate introduced a bill allowing chemical companies to dump their toxic waste in local water supplies. Our friends in the Republican party our sponsoring a free workshop about how drinking toxic waste is good for people……

    It would stop being a news organization.
    I guess The New Tropic never was a news organization, despite the fact they say “We make local journalism and events that help our fellow Miamians


    Thank you

    • Cary, thank you for your comment and for checking out The New Tropic. We do work with a variety of sponsors and partners, but we aim to be as transparent about that as possible so that our community knows what’s up. We work with partners to explore different subjects around Miami, but sponsors don’t decide or review what we cover or what we write. Today’s piece was a look at reporting from other cities about this topic, to help add context in advance of our workshop event. Our goal is always to help illuminate and add context through our work, not to push a particular viewpoint or agenda. We try to up front about that, and we appreciate suggestions about how we can get better.

  • Government should get out of the way. Allow these new ride sharing companies a chance to offer us a better choice. They are insured, they do their own employment due diligence, so who cares except the taxi industry. It’s called competition. If the playing field isn’t level because taxi drivers pay fees to drive their taxis, then maybe the cab companies should change their business model, one that appears today to be archaic.