Ridesharing gets the green light in Alabama

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Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft got a final green light to operate statewide from the Alabama Senate on Tuesday.

The body passed the House-originated version of the ridesharing bill by a vote of 27-0, which will send the legislation to Gov. Kay Ivey‘s desk to sign it into law.

The legislation 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.

Ivey announced her support of the legislation last month.

“To embrace the future, Alabama must accommodate modern transportation demands. The ability to request an on-demand ride is no longer considered a perk of being in a big city, it is an expectation no matter where one lives or work,” Ivey said at a press conference. “Having consistent rules statewide for ridesharing is the sensible way to give Alabamians access to safe, consistent and efficient transportation options.”

Following its passage, Uber spokeswoman Evangeline George issued a statement thanking Ivey and the bill’s sponsors for their leadership in helping pass the legislation.
“In passing one clear set of rules for ridesharing, the Alabama Legislature stood with students who need safe rides home late at night, seniors who need rides to their doctors, and commuters who need rides to work,” George said. “We thank Governor Ivey, Representative Faulkner, and Senator Singleton for their leadership and look forward to expanding access to Uber’s safe rides and flexible work opportunities throughout the state.”

Lyft spokesman Scott Coriell issued a statement of support as well.

“Ridesharing services like Lyft are providing tens of thousands of Alabamians earning opportunities and transportation options that did not exist a few short years ago,” said Coriell. “We’re excited that the legislature has acted to expand these benefits to more individuals around the state, and we look forward to working with the Governor to get this bill over the finish line.”

Alabama is one of only six states that lacks statewide ridesharing regulations. Once signed by Ivey, the legislation will  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.

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