Ride-sharing company regulations approved

Senators gave final approval May 21 to a bill authorizing the state to regulate ride-sharing companies, such as Uber and Lyft.

Introduced by Omaha Sen. Heath Mello, LB629 designates a transportation network company (TNC) as a new class of transportation service provider. A TNC falls under the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission and is defined as a corporation, partnership or other entity that uses an online application or digital network to connect riders to drivers for transportation service.

The bill establishes regulations for a TNC regarding stages of operation, permits, insurance, driver background checks, vehicle inspections, fee collection and complaint investigation. TNC drivers in Nebraska are required to have a valid driver’s license, proof of registration, proof of automobile liability insurance and be at least 21 years old.

A TNC must pay a $25,000 registration fee and maintain a minimum $1 million primary liability insurance coverage for death, personal injury and property damage.

The bill defines a personal vehicle used by TNC drivers as one that a driver owns, leases or is authorized to use. It excludes from the definition of prearranged ride a shared expense carpool or vanpool arrangement.

Additionally, the bill requires that a driver provide the TNC with a signed confirmation that a vehicle lienholder had been notified prior to a vehicle being used for a TNC.

Lawmakers passed the bill with an emergency clause on a 47-0 vote.

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