As ride-hailing smart phone apps grow and car ownership declines, cities are revisiting policies to meet demand while ensuring safety and economic benefits for both riders and drivers.
Benefits & Problems Addressed
Rider convenience & choice: Updated policies recognize the growing portfolio of options to individual car ownership that include app-based ride hailing, ride-sharing, & vanpools (collectively referred to as Transportation Network Companies or TNCs).
Driver compensation & safety: Legacy policies regulate the number of drivers, vehicle safety & payment systems. The rise of smart-phone based apps provide alternatives to centralized dispatch of company-owned taxicabs, but also disrupt regulated fares and compensation. Cities are reviewing policies that recognize change, but also provide wage support.
Service coverage: Policy review gives cities the opportunity to review overall transportation options for all neighborhoods by all providers (including transit & paratransit).
Optimizing pick-up & drop off areas: Cities can rethink curbside design & management to coordinate increased demand for pick up/drop off points. This can also benefit drivers who have predictable points to pick up several riders with one stop.
Tips & Techniques
Gather facts: Gather information on both regulated taxi companies and ride hail service patterns. Look at wages, mileage, demand trends, service areas. Also review areas with the most pick up/drop off demand to see if redesign is needed to ensure safety and comfort.
Typical areas of regulations: (1) Driver competency, fingerprinting & background checks, (2) Vehicle inspections & insurance, (3) Driver wages or compensation, (4) Surge or high-demand pricing. (5) Local fees, (6) Access to TNC's data,
Areas of transportation policy: (1) Equitable service (2) Designated or restricted pick-up & drop-off (including airports), (3) Integration with public transportation. (4) Inclusion in Transportation Demand Management plans and employer-targeted transportation programs.
Eye on the future: The predicted switch to autonomous (or driverless) vehicles will again pressure existing ride hailing with drivers and taxicab companies.
Hot Buttons: Cities & TNCs often spar over driver background checks & fingerprinting. Existing taxicab companies campaigned against allowing TNCs or extending similar taxi regulation. Cities want to balance fair driver wages with lower costs & greater options for riders.