Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft got a green light to operate statewide from the Alabama Senate on Thursday.
The body passed SB143, which would create a consistent regulatory framework for ridesharing companies across the state and eliminate the haphazard, confusing patchwork of differing municipal laws and regulations. Instead, ridesharing companies would be placed under the control of the Alabama Public Service Commission (PSC), and single permit issued by the PSC would then allow the companies to operate statewide.
The bill, sponsored by Greensboro-Democrat state Senator Bobby Singleton received bipartisan support and passed the chamber unanimously.
Alabama is one of only six states that lacks statewide ridesharing regulations. If passed, the bill would allow Alabamians from not only the larger cities, but also suburban and rural communities across the state to take advantage of all benefits the ridesharing industry produces.rural communities across the state.
“This is a perfect example of a bipartisan bill that works for all Alabamians,” Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed said. “Installing this regulatory framework is going to provide folks all over the state another choice in transportation, ensure safe operation for both drivers and riders, and pave the way for more jobs in the state.”
Because of a lack of statewide regulations, ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft operate in only fifteen of the larger cities in Alabama: Auburn, Birmingham, Daphne, Gardendale, Gulf Shores, Homewood, Hoover, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Mountain Brook, Pelham, Tuscaloosa, Trussville and Vestavia Hills.
“This is important to the state of Alabama because ride-sharing is the new trend across the United States. If we pass this legislation, we will be the 45th state in the U.S.,” Singleton remarked. “It’s important for us as a state to keep up with trends. This will allow citizens in the state of Alabama to be employed and it will allow people who don’t have transportation to be able to move around in their cities.”
Uber’s public affairs manager Nick Juliano praised Alabama lawmakers for passing the bill.
“The Alabama Senate took the first major step today in making sure that people in every corner of our state have access to reliable, affordable transportation,” Juliano said. “By expanding ridesharing services to all of Alabama, this legislation will create thousands of new jobs. We are grateful to members of the Senate for their support of this pro-growth initiative that will make Alabama the 45th state in the nation to adopt a statewide ridesharing law.”
SB143 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.