New Jersey Assemblyman Joseph Lagana, center, says regulating TNCs is all about public safety. LANJ President, Jeff Shanker, (L), and Vice President Jason Sharenow (R) invited Lagana to address members at the association’s annual luncheon and fundraising auction on May 13, 2015 held in West Orange, N.J.
WEST ORANGE, N.J..— Calling a proposed bill to regulate TNCs in the Garden State “common sense regulations,” state Assemblyman Joseph Lagana told members of the New Jersey Limousine Association (LANJ) during a meeting May 13 that although Uber is fighting hard to defeat the bill, protecting the public is his priority.
A lead sponsor of Bill A-3765, Lagana said he is taking heat from Uber and its lobbying and PR machine but is undeterred in the initiative to require the TNCs to adhere to current regulations that govern the taxi and limousine industry. “I’ve been accused of over regulating and taking away jobs, but the legislation is fair to all parties and focuses on safety and insurance that’s all about public safety,” Lagana said.
The bill specifically requires TNCs to carry commercial licensing and insurance; driver criminal background checks; and vehicles will have to display some sort of vehicle identification tag or label that identifies them as private transportation vehicles. “It’s also about security because we can’t have TNC drivers sitting outside airports or circling around in cars and vans without proper identification,” he added.
Although the bill passed the Assembly in March, LANJ did not support it because it is not as strong as the association would like to see. LANJ President Jeff Shanker (A1 Limousine, Princeton) said he considers the bill a good “first step.”
LANJ is steadfast on adding more key provisions to the bill, and if that fails, work the Senate as the bill moves forward. The association wants specific mandates included in the bill requiring medical examinations for a driver’s license, commercial insurance (not hybrid/gap policies), classification of TNC drivers as employees not independent contractors, and a 7% sales tax on every trip instead of the proposed 10 cents per trip.
“The Senate has our original bill on the table which turns a TNC into a limousine company,” Shanker said. “Hopefully, they will review that bill and see the disparities in the Assembly bill and fix it. Again, this is about public safety and a level playing field for private transportation companies that operate in the state.
“I’m working closely with Jeff on the legislation and we’re trying to ensure equitable for all (private transportation companies) going forward,” Lagana said.
In other business, LANJ held its 13th Annual Fundraising Auction that raised more than $10,000, said Pete Corelli (Lakeview Custom Coach, Oaklyn), who served as auctioneer. He rallied members to bid on various donated gifts and items, including multiple complimentary show passes to the 2016 International LCT Show in Las Vegas and the LCT-NLA Show East in Atlantic City Nov. 8-10.