Statewide Poll Indicates Overwhelming Majority of Nevada Voters, Support Stringent Regulation of Transportation Network Companies
LAS VEGAS – Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak joined with representatives of the southern Nevada transportation industry and other community leaders to urge Nevada legislators to put public safety first and hold all transportation providers, including emerging transportation network companies, to the same regulatory standards.
A recent poll conducted by WPA Opinion Research Speakers reflected that the overwhelming majority of Nevadans agree. “Our research shows that more than 75% of Nevada voters believe that companies such as Uber and Lyft should follow the same safety regulations, rider privacy protections, drug testing and FBI background checks, and the same level of insurance coverage and taxation obligations as taxi companies in Nevada,” said Matt Gamon, vice president of Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research headquartered in Washington, DC. The survey of more than 500 Nevadans statewide was conducted by live telephone interviews April 29-30 and has a margin of error of 4.4%.
Last week, the Clark County Commission adopted a resolution expressing similar concerns, noting that Clark County visitors and residents deserve and expect companies to provide transportation services that are safe, reliable, and protective of the consumer.” On Monday, Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said, “Transportation is of the utmost concern for us and to put our citizens and visitors in potential jeopardy is unconscionable. The last thing we need is a driver who could be under insured, under trained and possibly under the influence.”
Regulatory proposals recently introduced in the Nevada legislature would dilute regulatory supervision by placing transportation network companies under the oversight of the Public Utilities Commission rather than the Nevada Transportation Authority. “The PUC does not have the experience or the capability to enforce the kinds of standards that Nevada’s residents and tourists expect,” said Brent Bell, president of the Livery Operator’s Association. “As a regulatory entity, the NTA is the envy of the nation, enforcing reasonable but demanding standards of compliance. The only reason for creating an alternative system is to weaken those standards for the benefit of one or two companies. If allowed, Nevadans will pay the price in the long run.”
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo echoed similar concerns with lowering transportation requirements. “I am not against transportation network companies, but there needs to be stronger regulations. The Public Utilities Commission does not have the enforcement resources, and the burden of enforcement is going to fall to local law enforcement agencies that are already overtaxed. FBI background checks and pre-employment and post-accident drug and alcohol testing are fundamentally essential.”
Sandy Heverly, founder of Stop DUI, took issue with assertions by transportation network companies that their services actually reduce drunk driving incidents. “Where is the safety net to detect if the ride sharing driver may be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs? Personally, and on behalf of Stop DUI, I would never recommend or encourage anyone to use an unregulated ride sharing mode of transportation. And Uber’s claim that it is responsible for a double digit drop in DUIs is outlandish and begs the question of its credibility.”
The proposals pending before the state legislature also faced critical review for consumer protection failures, including Uber’s controversial surge pricing, where fares can be raised at a moment’s notice to triple the normal rate and higher, as well as an exemption from the Americans with Disabilities Act. Madonna Long, a nationally-recognized advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, observed that “Drivers need to be trained on the unique circumstances that face the disabled, and instances where ride sharing drivers have put guide dogs in a trunk is beyond astonishing. My fear is that TNCs will be the end of accessible transportation that connects people with disabilities to jobs and to the community. ”
Transportation network companies’ controversial unregulated surge pricing policy, where fees can be increased at a moment’s noticed by as much as 300-900%, also came under attack. “The ability of TNCs to deny service at will and to ramp up fees as much as they want will have a devastating impact on our city’s reputation,” said Bell.
About Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research
Since 1998, WPA Opinion Research has been a leading provider of political polling in all 50 states and several foreign countries. The company also has conducted market research for more than 110 Fortune 500 corporations and more than 200 of the largest and most successful not-for-profit organizations around the country. WPA also was awarded a “Pollie” from the American Association of Political Consultants for its Predictive Analytics and Adaptive Sampling techniques.