The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #00067

Submission Number:
Justin Brown
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
To Whom It May Concern at The Federal Trade Commission: Thank you for taking the time to take public comments regarding the sharing economy and services such as AirBNB, Uber, and Lyft. My primary area of concern and knowledge base involves ride-sharing platforms like Lyft and Uber so I will limit my comments to that area. First, as indicated by both my personal experience and a enormous market share, ride-sharing platforms are a desirable option in the transportation industry. For years, taxis have failed to respond to consumer demands for innovation, better customer service, and efficiency concerns. By allowing the ride-sharing platforms to compete hopefully taxis will be forced to improve quality in order to compete. While I firmly believe that ride-sharing platforms should continue to exist and be promoted, there are multiple regulatory issues that should be discussed. 1. An insurance regulation needs to be developed to determine responsibility for an accident that occurs during ride-sharing. The driver must have their own personal insurance but Lyft/Uber also has their policy. I have heard of situations where coverage disputes linger for months while all parties are forced to either pay out of pocket for personal property damages or injuries or wait until the coverage determination is resolved. A clear policy that the ride-sharing platform's insurance will cover drivers while working would resolve this issue. 2. Passenger safety is paramount to ride-sharing platforms and regulations should be promulgated to address the background check required on driver applicants. I feel that Lyft/Uber are adequately performing background checks currently and a regulation confirming the requirements would maintain the status quo. If increased background check procedures are required, the regulations could address the additional requirements. 3. Transparency on the pricing also seems to be an issue. Taxis are required to post fares and have a visible meter but the pricing for ride-sharing is less clear. I do not know what the appropriate level of disclaimer should be made (no one wants signage in a driver's car) but I would suggest a small icon in the ride-sharing application that either shows the pricing or a running meter. Thank you, Justin Brown