Fellow drivers in Seattle are in danger of losing many of the freedoms that make ridesharing so appealing. Drivers no longer would be able to work when, where and how long they want. They could be forced into legally binding agreement that mandate minimum or maximum working hours and limit their shifts to certain days or set times.
Washington D.C. – NetChoice applauds today’s 9th Circuit decision in US Chamber v City of Seattle. The Court struck down Seattle’s 2015 ordinance as it violated antitrust laws. Had it been allowed to stand, Seattle’s Ordinance would have enabled collusion by ridesharing drivers and empowered them to form cartels and collectively bargain against ridesharing platforms.
“This is a victory for riders and drivers in Seattle’s ridesharing industry,” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice. “The peer-to-peer economy relies on flexibility without which many drivers would have fewer options to make ends meet.”
“Without this decision, Seattle riders would expect higher prices and drivers could lose flexibility in choosing when and for whom they work. We’re happy the 9th Circuit has rejected this ordinance and preserved the positive impact of ridesharing in Seattle.”
Technology has given us more freedom to choose the way we work, live, travel, and shop. But many Americans are hitting bureaucratic roadblocks on their way find full-and part-time work with peer-to-peer services like Lyft, Postmates, and Handy. These roadblocks are not just bad for workers, but also for consumers, commerce, and the tax revenue that comes with it.
Some of these roadblocks are intentionally created by incumbents trying to prevent competition. But others are just legacy rules and laws that impede the fast-moving trend of workers moving into more flexible, freelance forms of employment.
But Steve Delbianco, executive director of NetChoice, a trade association that advocates policies promoting online commerce, points out that Philadelphia taxis continue to enjoy a monopoly on pick-ups from street hails, which is why they must meet certain requirements that TNCs should not.
“That brings certain obligations, including service for disabled passengers,” Delbianco said in an interview with Watchdog. “Any company that sets up a service is not able to serve everyone. Entrepreneurs who drive for Lyft and Uber can’t meet requirements for disabled access vehicles. The taxi commission is at this point grasping at straws to prevent competition.”
If two dueling regulatory bodies weren’t enough, now the state legislature might be about to enter the fray.
A bill to establish consistent TNC regulations is on the table at the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
“The PPA might want to be in denial of the future, but the General Assembly has a firm grasp on how to enable tech to serve citizens,” Delbianco said. “They know how to strike the right balance on regulation and innovation.”
Detroit doesn’t place burdensome regulations on automobile manufacturers; Idaho doesn’t put undue restrictions and hurdles in front of potato farmers; and California takes steps to protect its farmers — because these industries are part of the lifeblood and identity of their respective states.
These industries do more than just create jobs, tax revenue and prestige — they became a symbol of who they are, part of the fabric of the community and the economy.
“We encourage the Legislature to continue their work by turning this temporary fix into a long-term solution similar to what Sen. Bartolotta accomplished in her Senate bill,” Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice and coalition member. He also pointed out “the much needed immediate funding for Philadelphia school children” the reprieve will bring.