NC Rideshare Bill Awaits Final Approval

     (CN) – A bill that would regulate rideshare services in North Carolina passed by a large margin in the General Assembly and is headed to the governor’s desk for approval.
     While many states across the nation have been grappling with the rideshare industry that connects drivers to riders through apps, North Carolina has decided to establish regulations that will make companies like Uber and Lyft permanent fixtures in the state.
     The bill, SB 541, will require rideshare companies to have insurance coverage, pay a $5,000 state permit fee, and conduct local and national criminal background checks on drivers.
     The bill passed in the North Carolina Senate in July, and got the state House of Representative’s approval last week in a 109-2 vote, according to the state government.
     Rideshare companies are applauding the passage of the bill because it ensures that they won’t encounter obstacles like they have in places such as San Antonio, Texas, and Portland, Ore. In Panama City Beach, Fla., Uber chose to suspend its operations because of growing pressure from the community.
     “We’re excited to see the bill make its way to the governor and look forward to his signature establishing a permanent home here for safe, reliable ridesharing,” said Arathi Mehrotra, general manager for Uber North Carolina.
     Candace Chavez, who uses Uber regularly to visit family on the north side of Charlotte, says she is pleased with the decision.
     “I like the convenience and prices of Uber, and it’s nice knowing that something I’ve gotten used to won’t be ending any time soon,” she said.
     Taxi companies aren’t as thrilled with the decision. Michael Solomon, president of Taxi USA, told the Triangle Business Journal that his company still has to pay more in fees while they offer similar services with their app.
     “The government does what the government does,” Solomon said. “I guess they’re making way for modern, new, innovative technologies that they didn’t know existed in the current fleets already operating on the ground.”

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