Baker's ride-hailing safety bill up for hearing on Friday

SAM DORAN/SHNS file photo/Gov. Charlie Baker announced his ride-hailing safety bill in July alongside, from left, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides, whose office includes the Department of Public Utilities, and State Police Lt. Col. Robert Favuzza. The bill is set for a hearing on Friday.

BOSTON — More than five months after Gov. Charlie Baker filed legislation aimed at better tracking use of ride-hailing services and keeping passengers safe, movement on the bill has started.

The Transportation Committee included the bill (S 2289) on its agenda for a wide-ranging Friday hearing alongside 65 other proposals on various topics. Baker's office could not be reached for immediate comment on whether he would testify.

Baker's bill proposes changes to both safety and data-collection practices on platforms such as Uber and Lyft, often referred to by state officials as transportation network companies.

Drivers who "rent out" their accounts to others would face up to 2 1/2 years in prison, and the bill strengthens penalties on drivers who do not keep up on inspections, background checks or decals identifying their vehicles. The bill would also increase how much information the state tracks about trips on the platforms.

Under a 2016 law, the Department of Public Utilities monitors the municipality where every trip begins and ends, but Baker wants the data to be specified by time and location within 100 yards. That change, he argued, will allow officials to get a clearer sense of where TNCs are contributing to traffic and how much greenhouse gas emissions they produce.

Baker's bill does not alter the 20-cent-per-trip flat fee assessed on each TNC ride, which lawmakers may target as they seek new transportation revenue in legislation expected to emerge from the House this month. 

Recommended for you