A bill in the Michigan Legislature could impose statewide regulations on ridesharing companies, like Uber and Lyft, in a move that reflects the growing impact commercial mobile apps are having on state and local governments.
The legislation is an attempt to put the state in step with smartphone-driven services that allow users to request a ride using an app, bill sponsor state Rep. Tim Kelly said. The Uber app uses GPS to connect ride-seekers with independent drivers and then automatically charges users for their rides.
“If they’re not in your city, they soon will be,” Kelly, a Republican, said of the car services. “And they’re running largely unregulated. I think this bill addresses that.”
Under the legislation, ridesharing companies would need to register with Michigan’s Department of State. Drivers would have to submit to background checks, carry a chauffeur’s license and undergo a safety inspection. Rosters of drivers would be available for state inspection.
Lyft and Uber have spoken in support of the legislation. Indeed, an Uber representative said the company has most of the regulations already in place for its drivers. Meanwhile, existing taxi companies have decried the bill.
Currently, Uber operates in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Lansing. Lyft is in Detroit and Ann Arbor.