What a difference a year can make. Since launching in May 2014, Lyft has been embraced by consumers as a safe and efficient transportation option. Thousands of drivers have taken the opportunity to use their own vehicle to help their neighbors get around town.
While the idea of formalized carpooling initially struck some as unusual, the benefits for consumers and drivers encouraged many to try the service.
Both drivers and riders quickly realized the benefits of increased transparency and accountability, a new baseline that should serve as a standard for all forms of transportation, while also protecting a consumer’s freedom to choose transportation and mobility options.
Miami-Dade County planners are also waking up to the power of encouraging people to use vehicles more efficiently.
As greater Miami grapples with sprawl and increasingly congested roadways, there is a clear need to explore all solutions for ensuring that infrastructure can continue to serve the community for decades to come. Over the last year, Miamians have become painfully aware that 80 percent of vehicles on the congested roads are carrying only the driver.
Tuesday, County Commission Vice-Chair Esteban Bovo, chairman of the Transit & Mobility Committee, along with Commissioners Audrey Edmonson and Xavier Suarez, and in coordination with Mayor Carlos Gimenez, will continue working to establish a strong future for these services in Miami by proposing an ordinance that regulates Lyft and other ridesharing platforms.
These regulations are welcome and a positive evolution that shows how far the conversation has moved. They achieve a fine balance for innovation while not compromising safety — something Mayor Gimenez has boldly championed.
Conversations about the best way to conduct background checks and ensure appropriate insurance are now largely resolved. Commissioner Bovo’s proposed regulations will require strong background checks for drivers and set up clear definitions for the industry.
Insurance will be resolved at the state level.
Fortunately, members of the insurance industry and ridesharing community have begun to work together, advocating for solutions that continue to protect consumers while allowing insurers to introduce innovative new insurance products.
For ridesharing to continue succeeding, both Miami-Dade County and state legislators in Tallahassee need to continue working together.
A failure to act at either the state or local level will undermine a system that consumers vote every day to support.
David Mack, director of public affairs, Lyft, San Francisco