The state filed Saturday a list of rules and regulations that formally recognize Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing operations as official modes of transportation in Massachusetts. The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) will act as licensing authority with jurisdiction over ridesharing operations.
Uber Boston, in a Saturday morning email to users, described the state’s regulatory filing as a “framework for ridesharing, providing a permanent home for uberX” – the company’s most popular, affordable and controversial model – “in the Bay State.” Regulations establish “clear, uniform rules” for how Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing companies are allowed to operate across the state, as well as rider and driver safety.
“Uber Safety Crackdown in Massachusetts”
The 29-page regulatory framework specifically recognizes ridesharing companies as Transportation Network Companies (TNC)–which arrange “transportation of a passenger between points chosen by the passenger for consideration”– and establishes state requirements for independently contracted TNC drivers.
Read The Full Regulatory Filing, 540 CMR, Below.
Uber, Lyft and other rideshare companies would be required, under the new set of regulations, to hold a valid TNC Certificate or notice issued by the DPU within the last six months “that, as of the date of the notice, the Department of Public Utilities is not issuing Transportation Network Company Certificates,” the 29-page filing states.
Regulations also legally prohibit rideshare drivers from accepting on demand “street hail” or “hail pick-up” trip requests, meaning trips must be requested–pre-arranged–by a TNC (Uber, Lyft, etc.). Rideshare drivers must be 21 years old; possess a valid driver’s license and proof of personal car insurance; and comply with other requirements put forth by the state DPU.
The Public Utilities Department will have the power to “conduct, or have a third party conduct” criminal background and driving record checks of rideshare drivers. Rideshare companies will not be allowed to partner with drivers who are registered sex offenders or who have been convicted of violent or sexual abuse crimes or driving under the influence – among others – in the past 10 years.
If the DPU is “unable or unwilling” to ensure rideshare companies comply with regulations, the state Registry of Motor Vehicles will have jurisdiction over “Personal Transportation Network Vehicles”–like uberX vehicles–and allowed to enforce any necessary measures.
“Governor Deval Patrick and his Administration, particularly MassDOT officials, have displayed tremendous leadership in this regulatory process, Uber continued in its message to users. “We are proud that they have formally recognized ridesharing as a new and innovative transportation model in Massachusetts.”
Screengrab via Uber.