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State leaders should encourage innovation, not kill it

  • date icon June 17, 2014
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As the unified voice of the Internet economy, The Internet Association is dedicated to propelling innovation and technology forward. Our member companies have thrived in California, and consumers from across the world have benefited from the adoption of the new technologies Internet companies are creating within our state’s borders.

That is why we are concerned about legislation that is pending in the Legislature that threatens innovative California-born startups like Uber and Lyft.

AB 612 by Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, D-Van Nuys, and AB 2293 by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, will do nothing to improve public safety, but they will severely limit transportation options for consumers as well as increase costs to drivers and riders.

While we are proudly the state where Transportation Network Companies (TNC) were born and are now relied on for jobs and ride-sharing by millions of people across the world, we are risking the ironic distinction of being the state that actually kills these same companies to protect entrenched corporate interests that view these startups as a competitive threat.

Nazarian’s bill is an attempt to protect California’s taxi company monopoly. The bill would essentially destroy the TNC model and force these tech companies to become commercial carrier companies, i.e. cab companies. Consumers and drivers do not want more cab companies; they want better, more innovative transportation options such as what is offered by Uber, Lyft and others.

Large taxicab companies are having a difficult time competing with new services offered by companies like Uber and Lyft. Not only have they been losing customers, but they have also been losing drivers. In San Francisco, Chris Hayashi with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has said she has “never seen the driver numbers so low” in the six years she has managed taxis.

But rather than innovate and adapt, cab companies want to force drivers and consumers back into the cab, and back in time, via legislative fiat.

To read the full article click here.