Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Rep. Dooley Appointed to Ride for Hire Task Force

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed Representative Shawn Dooley (R-Norfolk) to serve as his designee on a legislative task force that will review the current laws, regulations and local ordinances governing licensed hackneys, taxis, livery and transportation network companies in the Commonwealth.

Created as part of a new state law regulating Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing companies operating in Massachusetts, the Ride for Hire Task Force will explore issues related to public safety, consumer protection and the economic fairness and equity of the regulatory structure governing the ride for hire industry.

Representative Dooley currently serves on the Joint Committee on Financial Services, which held a public hearing on several ride-sharing proposals last fall and produced an earlier version of the bill that was signed into law in August.

“It’s important that we have sufficient safeguards in place to protect the public while also making sure consumers have a wide range of transportation options available to them,” said Representative Jones.  “Representative Dooley’s work on this bill in committee gives him a unique perspective on the industry that will enable him to be a key contributor to the task force.”

The Legislature this year authorized the creation of a new division within the state’s Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to oversee the ride for hire industry.  As part of its review, the task force will look at ways for the new division to compile statistical reports relative to the number and type of incidents reported to transportation network companies, and the possibility of establishing municipal licensing commissions to regulate the development and oversight of the industry at the local level.

The task force will also explore requiring transportation network companies to provide an emergency safety alert feature on their user interface so riders can connect a call to the police, send alerts about their trip and their driver to local authorities, access contact information for the company’s incident response team, and send automated messages to preselected emergency contacts using real time global positioning system monitoring.

The task force is due to report back to the Legislature with its recommendations by July 1, 2017.

In addition to Representative Dooley, the task force will also include Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett, Insurance Commissioner Daniel Judson, the director of the new division that will oversee transportation network companies, and three other legislators.  The remaining six members of the task force will be appointed by Governor Baker, and will include representatives from the Disability Law Center, the Massachusetts Municipal Association, and the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, as well as members representing transportation network companies, the hackney and taxi industry and the livery industry.

Representative Dooley represents the Ninth Norfolk District, which includes the towns of Norfolk, Plainville, Wrentham, Medfield, Millis and Walpole.