As in most cities across the state, ride-sharing services such as Lyft and Uber are becoming more and more popular as they become more available and widely known. The two services both offer an alternative to traditional taxicabs by allowing people to use their own cars to charge people for rides through mobile apps. The two are widely recognized as fierce competitors.
In April of 2014, Lyft arrived first to Colorado Springs. Just eight days later, Uber followed, likewise expanding into the city’s ride market. The expansion likely came as a reaction to a bill that was passed in the Colorado State Senate in early March of that year, SB125. This bill placed ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft under state regulation which allowed them to verify their legality. They are now classified as “transportation-network companies,” meaning that they will have to provide proof of liability insurance for their drivers. They also now have to apply for operating permits through the Colorado Public Utilities Commission and must conduct background checks on their employees.
Just a couple of years later, in late 2015, Lyft made an agreement with the Colorado Springs Airport which allowed their company to send drivers to the airport to pick up passengers and bring them into the city. Just a couple of months later, Uber signed a similar agreement, adding their service to the mix. The companies had to install systems which were developed by the American Association of Airport Executives and are used at airports all over the nation. These systems are able to track every time an Uber or Lyft car enters or exits the airport, as the companies are contracted to pay the airport $2 every for every ride they give.
With the debut of these new services, traditional taxicabs are experiencing unprecedented competition. Often Lyft and Uber are able to provide cheaper fares and many people enjoy the convenience of the mobile app. Companies such as Pikes Peak Cab, Yellow Cab, and Springs Cab all operate within the city as well. At an early 2017 city council meeting, some taxi drivers expressed frustration that Uber and Lyft drivers were not subject to the annual $97 fee that taxi drivers in the city are required to pay. This fee covers a yearly background check and a business license, and the taxi drivers argued that it was unfair that Lyft and Uber drivers did not have to pay such fees to the state.
Legislation around ride-sharing services is, in large part, still in development because the companies are so new. It takes some time for regulation to catch up to new industries. Taxis have more comprehensive insurance because they must pay a premium for taxi-specific coverage. In contrast, for example, Uber and Lyft’s $1 million liability insurance does not cover personal injury to pedestrians and cyclists or property damage. If you have been injured in an accident involving an Uber, Lyft, or taxi, legal guidance can help you figure out who is responsible and how to recover damages. Call the Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal today at (303) 825-2223 or contact us online.