SACRAMENTO (KCBS)— A State Senate committee approved two bills Tuesday to tighten regulations on on-demand, ride-app services such as Uber and Lyft. Lawmakers are still struggling to craft compromise measures that protect public safety while letting the start-up car companies thrive.

The battle over how and how much California should regulate on-demand car service played out in Sacramento on the Capitol building’s steps and inside during a State Senate hearing. Supporters of the ride-app companies rallied on the steps, while inside, legislators looked at two bills.

One would require the Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers to be regulated just like taxi-cab drivers and the other would require the companies to provide commercial insurance once the driver activates the Uber or Lyft app.

The insurance bill has the support of insurance companies like Allstate, Geico, but also San Francisco International Airport, SF Muni and Armand Feliciano of the Association of California Insurance Companies.

“Once that app is on that’s when the TNC should cover that activity. Once the app is on the TNC driver is really telling the world we’re available for business,” he said.

But Uber’s Sally Kay said the company’s policy should only apply when the driver actually has a fare.

“The period when the app is simply on and there’s not a passenger in the vehicle requires a different consideration of insurance than the period when the driver is on the way to pick up a rider or the vehicle is carrying a passenger,” she said.

Meanwhile, taxicab drivers argued that their competition should have to carry commercial insurance all the time, just as they have to. Both bills passed committee, but it still needs to be worked out how much insurance the companies should carry.  In addition, the bills have both passed in the Assembly.


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