In An Attempt to Modernize Taxicab Regulation in California, Governor Brown Signs AB 1069

Effective January 1, 2019, newly enacted AB 1069 attempts to modernize taxicab regulation in California in order to counter competitive pressure created by “for-hire” ridesharing companies such as Lyft and Uber.

Presently, taxicab permit fees must be paid to numerous local regulatory bodies because permit fees must be paid to each jurisdiction where a taxicab operates, typically either a city or a county.

AB 1069 reduces the number of jurisdictions an operator must pay for fees to operate, effectively allowing taxicabs to operate over larger geographical areas in a manner consistent with rideshare services such as Lyft and Uber.

Under AB 1069, regulatory fees will be paid to the jurisdiction where taxicabs are “substantially located,” which is defined as both where the taxicab driver or taxicab business is located and where the taxicab provided the largest number of trips in the year prior. The bill also allows jurisdictions to share regulatory duties through joint power authority agreements.

The bill also allows taxicab services to adjust rates in the same manner that ridesharing companies such as Lyft and Uber adjust rates, including the use and development of “apps” to facilitate rate adjustments and to allow for pre-arranged rides.

While the new law deregulates the taxicab industry to some extent, it continues to allow jurisdictions to set maximum rates, requires controlled substance and alcohol certification for taxicab drivers, provides that taxicabs must give notice to passengers regarding ride rates, and sets disability access compliance requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act and state disability laws.

The law will go into effect January 2019. In order to determine jurisdiction, trip data collection will begin January 1, 2018, with renewed data collected every five years thereafter.

If you would like to find out more about this bill, please contact your local labor counsel.

By Paul Pfeilschiefter | November 6, 2017

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