For years, ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft have operated in Rhode Island and other states with minimal regulation. This service is a relatively new concept. Therefore states have been struggling to figure out the best way to manage it. Currently, Rhode Island legislators are trying to determine what bill would best serve the state’s residents and economy. One bill favors the companies Uber and Lyft while another bill favors traditional taxi companies. Both bills include a yearly fee for Uber and Lyft but differ on other aspects.
One proposed bill is in favor of the ride-share companies. Thousands of drivers throughout Rhode Island use Uber as a way to receive supplementary income. Therefore, many drivers rely on the fact that current legislation imposes few restrictions. The bill would enable Uber and Lyft drivers to be treated as independent contractors instead of actual employees. This minimizes the liability for the company and allows for more freedom for the drivers. Similar legislation has been passed in many other states.
Although the previous bill would be beneficial to Uber drivers, it would be detrimental to taxi drivers. Taxi drivers are treated as employees, and they have to be thoroughly vetted before they can work. They have to go through background checks, vehicle inspections, and insurance verification. This proposed bill would ensure that Uber drivers undergo a similar process. It would help even the playing field between the taxi drivers and the Uber drivers. This would also assist in ensuring the rides are safe for passengers since the drivers would have to undergo background checks. In the event of an accident, it would also be beneficial to know that your Uber driver is adequately insured.