SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield City Councilors postponed a vote on Monday that would have regulated Uber and Lyft drivers in the city.
This is the third time the vote has been postponed since the regulations were first proposed.
Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft are similar to taxis. You use the app on your smartphone to request a ride, wait for a driver to come pick you up, and then have them bring you to your destination. Unlike taxis, they’re not still not regulated in Massachusetts, which means drivers aren’t required to go through the same process as taxi drivers.
The City of Springfield proposed regulations that would require Uber and Lyft to have their cars inspected by the city, and pay a $6,000 insurance fee. Taxi and limo companies already have to abide by those rules.
City Councilor Justin Hurst told 22News they chose to delay the vote because they want to see whether the state takes action. “We will defer to the state and let them regulate Uber, and other vehicles as they see fit and then we’ll in turn model our local ordinance after them. We’d rather have it that way than create something, and have it conflict with state law,” he said.
State lawmakers are considering a bill that would require drivers for ride sharing companies to undergo state certification and background checks, in addition to their current background checks.
It would also require drivers to display markers on their cars that indicate they’re drivers, and prohibit surge pricing, which means drivers wouldn’t be able to increase prices during periods of high demand.
The senate will vote on the measure next month. If it doesn’t pass, the Springfield City Council said they’ll bring the proposal back up for a vote.
The bill the state’s currently considering could become law as early as next month.