The recent article written by Dale Evans, “Proposed Bill Regulating Uber, Lyft is Biased Against Taxis,” was very disturbing to read. There were many inaccuracies in the article regarding Uber and Lyft regulations in the state of Hawaii, particularly Oahu, where a majority of most ride-sharing drivers reside.

I would know about these regulations, because I am one of those drivers. I am not writing to you on behalf of Uber or Lyft. I am writing on behalf of myself as an independent contractor that drives for ride-sharing companies.

Ordinance 16-25, enacted Aug. 17, 2016, states each private transportation driver’s vehicle must display a decal on the front and rear bumpers with the transportation network company’s logo, name or identifying symbol; a dome, for taxicabs only, or a company identifier, in the front window visible from at least 30 feet.

TNCs are already regulated and required to display signage identifying themselves as Uber or Lyft vehicles. Lyft vehicles will have the emblems on the front and rear bumpers, while Uber, with permission from the director, on the rear driver-side windshield. Lyft vehicles may also have a light-up amp on the front dash that will display the riders’ name and greeting once the ride starts.

Other safety features that are implemented on Uber and Lyft for riders include the driver’s current picture, the license plate of the vehicle, color of the vehicle, make and model of vehicle, and picture of vehicle on the app once the driver accepts the ride. The rider also knows how far away the driver is in minutes, the route the driver is taking, and when the driver is pulling up to greet them. These safeguards have been in place for the riders since the beginning.

As for insurance, Uber and Lyft both have $1 million policies when passengers are en route at all times. If the unfortunate incident where a driver’s battery runs out during a trip, that does not mean the trip has ended. It only means the phone has died.

The driver is still en route and has not ended the ride with the rider. Both the driver and rider are still covered under the insurance. The driver just needs to get a charger and end the trip once the rider has reached the destination.

A driver would not close the app with a rider in the car. That would cause the driver to lose money.

Paying The Bills

Drivers are out trying to make money to feed their families, pay bills, or other expenses. They are independent contractors who need to keep their app on in order to make money.

There are thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers in Hawaii. By turning off the app, the driver gave that potential income to another driver and would now have to drive longer hours to provide for their family.

The issue that needs to be addressed is safety for the drivers. The tragedy on Jan. 27, 2019, in Tempe, Arizona, that took the life of a pregnant Lyft driver while picking up a rider started a petition to ask Uber and Lyft for safety measures for drivers.

The issue that needs to be addressed is safety for the drivers.

Drivers only receive a name, rating, and where the rider is to be picked up from. The names that drivers do receive are mostly fake names. Uber never gives drivers a rider’s picture, however, Lyft will give us the picture the riders upload.

Most of these pictures are avatars, Snapchat pictures, or other fake pictures. If drivers are required by both Uber and Lyft to give current pictures and proper first names to the riders, shouldn’t the driver expect the same type of safety measure from the riders? This would ensure that everyone is safe, not just the rider, the driver as well.

I encourage the conference committees to move forward with House Bill 1093 HD2.

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