While ride-sharing technologies, such as Uber and Lyft, are creating never-before-achieved efficiencies in transportation, not everyone is celebrating those achievements.
Some have taken the rise of sharing-economy business models as a signal to retrench, protect the status quo, stifle innovation and, in some cases, turn a tidy profit by cracking down on ride-sharing services in state legislatures and insurance commissions.
Fortunately, members of the national media are increasingly savvy to this tactic and what drives it. This week, Joe Garofoli of the San Francisco Chronicle shed some light on the real motivation for this attack on the ground-breaking technology:
Political power in the state capital comes from relationships cultivated over decades, and building those connections costs money. Uber and fellow San Francisco ride service startups Lyft and Sidecar are exploding in popularity nationwide, but in Sacramento, they’re being vastly outspent by their opponents when it comes to lobbying.
Legal and insurance groups who want the tougher rules in AB2293 have spent $6.1 million to lobby the Legislature from 2013 through March of this year, according to a Chronicle review of records kept by the secretary of state.
NetChoice was happy to weigh in and provide some perspective on the issue, and here’s what we had to say:
Perhaps because of that, “AB2293 reads to me like it was written by and for California’s insurance industry,” said Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice, a trade association of e-commerce companies, including Lyft. He noted that the bill’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, has received $94,200 in contributions from the insurance industry since her election four years ago.
When new tech entrepreneurs are starting their business, “the last thing on their list is to start a long-term program of political giving,” DelBianco said. At that stage, they’re focused on survival.