“Effective October 1st, 2017, the State of Connecticut, with the passing of Public Act 17-140, will now recognize car services known as transportation network companies, or TNCs, which feature a ride-hailing app and independently owned private cars offering for-hire service.
Before this, the approximately 5,000 Connecticut Uber and Lyft drivers were operating outside of vehicle-for-hire safety regulations. Their 2014 blitz overwhelmed enforcement agents. But the new law now allows the TNCs to operate without workers comp insurance, without the continuous $1.5 million livery fleet insurance and without finger-print-based background checks that are 43 times better at finding criminality*. Of the roughly 71,000 Massachusetts drivers pre-approved, by Uber and Lyft’s third-party background checks, about 11,000 failed the new state background check!
To be assured of getting the full suite of safety protections, only use a cab or limousine with the Connecticut “Taxi,” “Livery” or “Interstate” registration marker (license) plates. Teddy’s fleet vehicles all have the Connecticut Livery marker plate. No cars operated by the big TNCs have them.
Expect some car services to lower their SAFETY standards TO COMPETE
While traditional livery and cab services are still required to
- use the better background checks
- carry full-time commercial auto coverage at as much as 15 times higher limits
- inspect their vehicles
- pay overtime and
- stay within their market so as not to oversupply and drive down safety in other markets …
…TNCs need to follow none of those very expensive rules. But, to promote fairness, Connecticut’s new law does allow traditional carriers to, with the payment of a TNC fee, hire private drivers and private cars and avoid most of the safety nets described here. One Fairfield County competitor told CTRideSafe he’d save $145,000 every year in workers compensation insurance alone by switching to the TNC model. Such trends would shift risk to the customer – especially the deep-pocketed corporate customer.
Rest assured, Teddy’s will continue to use it’s 85 years of experience and economies-of-scale to bring its discriminating clients only premiere-tier, award-winning private car service with full safety features in place and at fares that eagerly compete with similarly classed car services.
ARE ALL RIDE-HAIL CABS INSURED?
The Insurance Information Institute says “it’s myth that personal auto insurance will cover” when transporting passengers for a fee. Additionally, the Connecticut Department of Insurance advises drivers thinking of using their personal car as a cab that “nearly all (personal auto insurance policies) contain exclusions for livery” meaning “that the policy will generally not provide coverage for liability incurred while driving passengers in exchange for remuneration.”
The new Connecticut law requires that the TNC — or the driver — carry $1,000,000 coverage but only while there is a paying passenger on-board and less at other times. In contrast, traditional Connecticut livery and taxi fleets continue to be required to carry $1.5 million in continuous coverage. But where we traditional fleet managers are required to keep our insurance policy on file with DMV, TNCs are not. As well, CTRideSafe has, as yet, been unable to view and verify Uber’s fleet insurance coverage and the New England Livery Association’s executive director, Rick Szilagyi, says it seems to not currently be with a carrier that is accepted in Connecticut. A call to the Conn DMV Insurance desk will get you a copy of Teddy’s Transportation System’s current insurance coverage. But you can’t get one for Uber.
LAWS OF AGENCY MAY MEAN YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE
With no workers comp and failed background checks, CTRideSafe actively urges corporate travel managers to expressly forbid their employees from hiring TNCs in the company’s business travel policy. If you don’t forbid it and your TNC driver hurts his back with your luggage, his lawyer will certainly come after your corporation, first, for compensation.
- be sure your son or daughter is not driving the family Camry for hire once classes end for the day. ‘Real’ cabs have a blinking amber alarm light on the trunk lid to be secretly triggered in case the driver is being assaulted by the passenger sitting behind him. Should you ever see this alarm, please call 9-1-1 immediately.
- For students seeking a ride, know that far too many stalkers are printing an Uber sign off the Internet to lure coeds into their cars when the bars close or at the train station. Their own disclaimer warns you to never ride alone.
Quinnipiac University, in Hamden, actually forbids TNCs from being on campus
- As well, in the case of your younger student, know that the big TNC’s own disclaimer prohibits anyone under 18 from even using the service without the adult account-holder on board.
In full disclosure, Charles Wisniewski, the Teddy’s Transportation System president, is also the communications lead for CTRideSafe.org, an agency cited above.
*WhosDriviingYou.org lists 19 felons found behind the wheel as well as 30 deaths, 11 alleged kidnappings, 314 sexual assaults and more.
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