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Ride-sharing companies agree to California deal on regulation

By Jeremy B. White - jwhite@sacbee.com

August 27, 2014 12:35 PM

Lawmakers, Gov. Jerry Brown and ride-sharing companies have reached a deal on California legislation upping insurance requirements for the emerging companies such as Lyft and Uber.

“This is the final product,” said Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, author of the regulation bill. “We have the administration’s support on the bill.”

Both Uber and Lyft reversed to support the bill, Lyft heralding a deal struck under the auspices of Brown and Senate leaders.

“Policymakers who want to ensure the future of ridesharing as a safe, convenient and affordable transportation alternative in California should support this compromise,” a Lyft floor alert states.

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Ride-sharing allows drivers to use their personal cars to transport customers for a fee. As the new model has begun displacing taxis and other traditional car services companies, lawmakers and the insurance industry have sought to have ride-sharing companies carry more comprehensive – and more expensive – liability insurance.

Potentially affected firms like Uber and Lyft mounted a strenuous opposition campaign, warning that Sacramento is stifling innovation.

But organizers canceled a planned Wednesday rally at the Capitol as Bonilla accepted amendments lowering the mandated value of insurance from $500,000 to $200,000 when drivers are cruising without passengers.

AB 2293 would still alter when parent companies must cover their drivers, expanding the standard to include times when drivers have turned in an application allowing them to take on passengers but have not yet accepted ride requests. When a driver has accepted a request or picked up a passenger, AB 2293 would require $1 million worth of insurance.

“In the last few days, the debate was definitely over the amount,” Bonilla said.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 2:49 p.m. to reflect the ride-sharing companies’ agreement on the bill.

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