Will work with Mayors Walsh, Curtatone to create regulatory framework for Uber, Lyft operators
BOSTON – Today, Governor Charlie Baker directed the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to issue public notice clarifying the status of Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), such as Uber and Lyft, in the state of Massachusetts. The issuance permits TNC drivers to continue operating in the Commonwealth, while allowing the administration to begin discussions about a regulatory framework to ensure the enhanced safety of drivers and riders.
“In order for Massachusetts’ economy to thrive, we must continue to embrace technology and innovation as a means for growth,” said Governor Baker. “Emerging transportation options such as Uber and Lyft present a real opportunity for our evolving transportation ecosystem to more efficiently serve residents and visitors to Massachusetts alike. We also have a responsibility to step up to ensure consumer choice and public safety prevail, and that Massachusetts continues to develop as a global destination for business and tourism.”
New Registry of Motor Vehicle (RMV) regulations issued in December 2014 and effective on January 16, 2015, require TNCs to be licensed by the state and permit drivers who work with licensed TNCs to use private vehicles to drive paying passengers. But, because a TNC licensing framework must be developed through legislation, the RMV regulations allow TNC drivers to use private vehicles for a six-month period, during which the Baker Administration will develop a licensing framework – all in consultation with cities, industry leaders, and stakeholders, including Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone.
“The City of Boston looks forward to working with Governor Baker in developing a sensible, comprehensive regulatory framework for all for-hire transportation services across the Commonwealth that ensures transportation services are safe and accessible,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said. “The City's Taxi Advisory Committee has been developing a new city policy on for hire transportation services, and I am excited to be able to share the research and experience of that group with Governor Baker and his administration in a complementary and collaborative way.”
"Somerville is committed to working collaboratively with Governor Baker as he develops a permanent state-level regulatory structure that embraces transportation innovation, places the interests of customers first, and makes sure that we create a transportation system that works across municipal boundaries,” said Mayor Joe Curtatone of Somerville. “Entrepreneurs and new businesses like Uber are creating new business models and new jobs, but at the same time, we need solutions that work for both those new businesses and for long-time businesses and their employees. We look forward to rolling up our sleeves in partnership with the state to find the right solution.”
“The Department strives to balance the needs of emerging transportation network companies, with the requirements of inherent public safety measures,” said Angela O’Connor, Chairman of the DPU. “We look forward to working with all interested parties to accomplish these objectives.”
The permanent licensing structure will allow the state to ensure both consumer choice and public safety with proper background checks of drivers; proper safety checks of TNC vehicles and adequate insurance in the event of an accident.