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BOSTON — In the wake of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signing a stricter TNC “rideshare” bill, both sides claimed victory and praised it.
One of the bill’s initial critics-turned-advocates, Dav El / BostonCoach CEO Scott Solombrino, told LCT Uber and Lyft are saving face while his side can walk away confident.
“This is a huge win for us,” said Solombrino, also a spokesman for Ride Safe Massachusetts and a board director with the National Limousine Association. “This is the strictest Uber legislation in the country. It’s a template for other states. People should look at this legislation to pursue in their own states.”
Since the Governor signed the bill Aug. 5, Solombrino has fielded calls from state legislators around the nation. “This is the biggest win for our combined industry we’ve had in these TNC regulatory wars,” said the three-decade limousine executive and veteran of many ground transportation regulatory wars. “It opens the door for states to do more regulation that's more rigid.”
Among the stricter rules for TNCs Solombrino cited:
• Double background checks of drivers to be done twice per year through the state of Massachusetts Dept. of Public Safety, which goes through the FBI, in addition to the TNCs’ background checks.
• Notification of personal insurance carriers if drivers lack a commercial vehicle insurance policy.
• A 20 cents tax per TNC ride that cannot be billed to drivers.
• TNCs must pay commercial toll rates.
• TNC vehicles must be inspected by the state, and each driver must get a certificate of good standing.
• A 1-800 line for customer complaints.
• The Massachusetts Port Authority, which regulates ground transportation at Logan International Airport, and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority are allowed to regulate TNCs on their own, but Solombrino said this opens up the opportunity to lobby them for rules parity or higher with the new state law.
Solombrino and Ride Safe Massachusetts plan to push for another bill mandating fingerprint checks, which are stronger and more consistent than the standard background checks the bill requires.
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