Hon. Ben Hueso, Chair Senate Energy, Utilities& Communications Committee State Capitol, Room 2209 Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Chair Hueso,
AB 2763, presented by Assembly Member Gatto, changes the definition of a “Personal Vehicle” in 5431 to mean the opposite of the ordinary meaning of term “Personal Vehicle.”
Instead of being a vehicle that is owned by a ‘Participating Driver” to use “in connection with a transportation network company’s online-enabled application or platform to connect with passengers”;” a “Personal Vehicle” becomes any vehicle that is “owned, leased, rented, or otherwise authorized for use for any period of time by the participating driver … that is not a taxicab or a limo.”
Confusing? That appears to be the point. The purpose to this change, this debasement of language, clearly is to subvert the intent of the original regulation and change it to mean the opposite.
The original concept of a TNC envisioned a network of people who would share rides. If a driver was going shopping or to a concert or the airport, he or she would post this on a network app and try to hook up with people who were going in the same direction. Thus, a car ideally could be carrying three or four people instead of one person to a given destination.
Used in this way, TNCs were supposed to help fight congestion and pollution.
With hindsight we can see that this is not the way the TNC vehicles are actually being used. Instead they act like taxicabs – without the limitations on their numbers. Nor are they held to the emission and safety standards imposed by taxicab regulations in cities such as San Francisco.
Instead of having three or four people riding together to a location as advertised by Uber and Lyft, three or four TNC drivers compete with each other for the same customer.
Instead of helping ease congestion and reduce green house gases, TNCs have become major contributors to both gridlock and pollution.
The intent of this bill, then, is to remove and destroy the last limitation to the boundless growth that both Uber and Lyft need to attract ever more investors such as GM, Toyota, Hertz and other petroleum dependent enterprises – to the detriment of the environment and our roadways.
Therefore I urge you to vote NO on AB 2763.