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Economy and Business

New transportation companies come to Cleveland
"Ridesharing" companies excite some, worry others

Lyft's ridesharing vehicles can be identified by the bright pink mustache on the hood.
Courtesy of Lyft
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In The Region:

Two companies launched operations in Cleveland  over the weekend, offering a new way to get around the city.

The companies, Uber and Lyft, are ridesharing services. James Ondrey of Uber says ridesharing is simply when a person offers to drive someone else in exchange for money.


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“And we’ve got a smartphone app that really is a platform for connecting people looking for rides with available drivers for on-demand transportation," Ondrey says. "And the general concept is you’re going to open up that app, you’re going type in an address you want to get picked up at, push a button and within five minutes, you’re going to have a driver arrive ready to take you wherever you need to go.”

But Columbus filed suit against Uber Wednesday, claiming they provide an unlicensed cab service.

Dave Sutton, spokesman for the Taxicab, Limousine and Paratransit Association, says that cities like Columbus are cracking down on these services because they see potential risks.


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“When people are transported in vehicles by strangers, there is a strong element of risk and so they regulate these environments," Sutton says. "But these companies, Uber and Lyft, have arrived and they have placed vehicles on the road, but they have shifted all the risk onto their own drivers, passengers and local communities.”

Sutton says these services do not have adequate insurance and may not conduct the vehicle and driver inspections that taxi companies are required to do by law.

Ondrey counters that Uber drivers undergo background checks and the drivers’ insurance policies are backed by a $1 million company policy.

Listener Comments:

Ride-sharing companies are breaking laws and regulations every day. From regulatory fee evasion to use of smartphone while driving (and even two smartphones(!) as was recently uncovered by Mr. Raplan – an undercover reporter who drove one of the ride-sharing cabs for a week and had far from stellar results). Use of smartphone(s) while driving is strictly prohibited and is a major cause of serious, fatal, accidents. In fact, ride-sharing drivers were already involved in fatal and severe accidents. With no commercial liability insurance to cover losses and medical bills involved. Most readers would likely already know, the commercial liability insurance expense and enforcement is just not there for any of the ride-sharing law-breakers. To make things worse, ride-sharing drivers were also caught engaging in other criminal activities while driving passengers. The bottom line is that those who blindly support ride-sharing law-breaking model are gravely wrong and misguided.

Posted by: Samuel on April 14, 2014 11:04AM
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