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Alder Scott J. Resnick

Alder Scott J. Resnick

Home Address:
661 Mendota Ct # 1404
Madison , WI 53703

Phone: 608-807-7962
district8@cityofmadison.com
Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Crafting Strong TNC Regulations

August 5, 2014 11:05 AM

This week, I will be introducing additional regulations and clarification to my draft ordinance that opens a pathway for Transit Network Companies (TNCs) to operate in Madison. From day one, it has been my goal to create legislation that is in the best interest for the City of Madison. With the appropriate regulation, I believe we can ensure these services will operate safely and equitably, while providing uniform rules that create a fair playing field with existing taxi companies.

Since I introduced my ordinance in May, TNCs have undergone a similar regulatory process in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis. All three of our regional neighbors crafted regulations that ultimately legalized TNCs, but ensured protections that met each community's norms and standards. We can build on the progress made in these cities by finding a similar pathway forward in Madison. My ordinance provides an opportunity for TNCs to legally operate in Madison, while reflecting our community's values and the input of stakeholders. Let me be clear: in order to operate legally in Madison, TNCs will have to meet significant requirements. In fact, if approved, the regulations set forth in my ordinance will be the strongest language on the books in the Midwest.

It is useful to note that my proposal is significantly different from the City of Milwaukee's, where TNC companies are not licensed. In Milwaukee, there are no provisions to license companies; no requirements to service the entire city; no commitment to underserved neighborhoods; and no reporting of rejected fares. While this may work for Milwaukee, it is not acceptable for Madison.

People have asked me to describe the ordinance, so here are some details: Drivers will be licensed by the City and required to follow the same background check procedures as all taxi drivers. Vehicles must be deemed safe to operate by a third party and meet clean emissions standards. Consumer protections will be upheld, and drivers must follow strict anti-discrimination policies. Services must cover the entire city, and strict reporting will be required to ensure every neighborhood is actually being served. TNCs are forbidden from operating at taxi stands or taking street hails. Furthermore, these laws are applied uniformly, not to give TNCs an advantage over existing taxi companies.

My additional language provides added clarification and introduces the following new provisions:

  • Creates a surcharge to better accommodate the needs of disabled passengers
  • Provides additional incentives for taxi services to offer coverage 24/7, and allows for existing companies to opt-out
  • Adds further requirements on surge pricing, and requires verification from the passenger that the charge is approved
  • Requires TNCs and drivers to provide insurance, including one million dollars of coverage while servicing passengers; this is modeled from an ordinance recently passed in Minneapolis
  • Requires drivers to be notified of the risks associated with their insurance and potential liabilities
  • Includes an accompanying resolution calling for more taxi stands and taxi signage for special events

 

One change is that 24/7 coverage becomes optional, so long as at least one taxi service operates 24/7. In the event no company compiles, a daily after-hour surcharge is assessed to every company to help subsidize future 24/7 service. Companies will still be required to post regular hours to avoid "cherry-picking" prime fares. However, after hearing testimony from the taxi cab companies and industry experts, evidence suggests that 24/7 service for the entire city will remain in place.

The Transit and Parking Commission subcommittee will continue to review these changes, and provide a recommendation to the full Commission and Common Council later this summer. At this time, I am inviting feedback from all stakeholders who are interested in the debate. I look forward to hearing from the taxi cab companies impacted by my proposal and our residents who use taxi services.

 





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