Ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft have driven around Bay County since March. The services give residents alternative transportation options on their phone just with the tap of a finger.
In July the senate passed legislation requiring rides sharing companies across the state to all adhere to the same regulations in hopes of increasing rider and driver safety.
Now, the state law has set guidelines for background checks, set an insurance minimum and outlined a zero tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol. Previously, local governments like ones in Bay County and Panama City Beach could pass their own ordinances. This posed several problems. Uber drivers at times had to switch rules and regulations as they traveled from city to city.
“It was kind of a cut and paste city by city local ordinance approach to regulating Uber and Lyft. Many taxi cab drivers felt they were being discriminated against because Uber and Lyft were not subject in the beginning to the same standards that taxi cab drivers were,” said local criminal defense attorney Al Sauline.
The state is now considering the addition of a statewide “Alternative Transportation Authority” to oversee companies like Uber and Lyft. That will be considered during the 2018 legislative session that begins January 9th.