"BLOG: Five reasons CT's ride sharing bill matters"

 A proposal in CT's General Assembly would provide a statewide regulatory framework for the ride sharing industry (Photo: Shutterstock.com).

A proposal in CT's General Assembly would provide a statewide regulatory framework for the ride sharing industry (Photo: Shutterstock.com).

Connecticut stands to reap the benefits of a more than $50 billion industry if legislators pass a bill providing a regulatory framework for rideshare companies. Here are five reasons to care.

#1) NEW JOBS

Connecticut has experienced the slowest post-recession job growth compared to all other New England states. Last year alone, our state saw its worst job growth performance in nearly a decade, finishing the year with 200 fewer jobs than it had in 2015.

Many people in Connecticut are searching for sustainable incomes. However, traditional jobs aren’t as readily available as many would hope. Therefore, the utility of ridesharing platforms, such as Uber and Lyft, is growing exponentially and providing more people with jobs and a source of income.

Last year, Lyft drivers nationwide made over of $1.5 billion, according to a study from the company. In U.S. cities where the Uber platform was adopted, total employment in point-to-point transportation services has expanded, according to researchers at the University of Oxford. In fact, the supply of wage employed taxi drivers increased by 10 percent, and self-employment skyrocketed by nearly 50 percent.

#2) ECONOMIC IMPACT

Establishing a framework that integrates the ridesharing industry into the statewide transportation infrastructure will access untapped economic potential. A recent study from Lyft found that last year alone, the company generated $750 million in over 200 cities.

Research also indicates that these ridesharing platforms have tremendous influence over consumer spending in their local economies. In Phoenix's market, nearly $40 million was added by those consuming Lyft’s services, because of time saved from utilizing their service.

Last year, more than 160 million Lyft rides were taken by passengers. People now have access to go places they have not been easily able to go to before, and with them comes an influx of capital towns and cities have not seen before. 

#3) CUSTOMER CONVENIENCE

Ridesharing platforms, like Uber and Lyft, have apps that any smartphone can access. They are easy to use, match people in moments, allow the customer to track their driver's location, and notify them upon the driver's arrival. All payments are made automatically through the app via credit card. There's not a lot more required of the customer other than the push of a button.

Companies like Lyft and Uber offer multiple options to customers. Standard cars may be swapped for larger vehicles to accommodate more passengers, and customers can choose luxury vehicles, too. To get a cheaper fare, customers can also carpool with other ridesharers. One study, performed in five cities, found that people were more likely to use Uber than a traditional point to point transportation services due to Uber’s efficient ordering system and pricing methods.

The convenience continues. Uber is considering partnership programs with other institutions in the future, such as colleges and universities across the nation. La Salle University in Philadelphia and Uber have implemented a pilot program to maximize student safety and convenience. Students may use Uber anywhere on campus for a flat-rate of $1.99. Being that La Salle has a large commuter population, the company expects to see great success from this partnership. 

#4) ECONOMIC COMPETITIVENESS

Connecticut is falling behind other states that have already passed similar legislation. In fact, Connecticut is one of fifteen states that have not yet enacted legislation regulating transportation network companies, according to the Council of State Governments. Connecticut's lack of ridesharing regulation shows inconsistency with emerging modern trends resulting in a disadvantage in national and global markets.

Nationally, rideshare legislation has been created to address many concerns: insurance coverage for both driver and passenger, driver background checks, certification, and reasonable fees and charges. Other states are embracing innovative transportation options and setting quality service standards that will revolutionize the industry.

Connecticut will lose its edge in the fight for tomorrow’s jobs if we cannot display the flexibility necessary to incorporate new opportunities into our economy. Opportunity propels economic growth.

#5) ROAD SAFETY

A comprehensive study conducted by Uber and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) revealed that in Seattle, before Uber's introduction in 2013, 2,750 people were arrested for DUI's annually. Since then, there has been a 10 percent reduction in these arrests.

The study revealed nearly two-thirds of respondents believe elected officials should prioritize the safety of drivers and passengers.

With more people choosing ridesharing, there will be less traffic congestion on roads and highways. The transportation network systems deliberately create the most optimal pairs of ride requests and drivers, usually based on their proximity. A reduction in travel time and vehicular volume is better for public health and the economy, according to a new MIT Study.

Developing a regulatory framework for ridesharing companies comes with benefits -- whether it's creating jobs, bolstering the economy, enhancing convenience for customers, increasing our state's economic competitiveness, and making our roads safer for drivers and passengers -- and the state should move quickly to prepare for tomorrow's jobs.

For more information on HB 7126: An Act Concerning Transportation Network Companies, click here: http://bit.ly/2nX7Q1Q.