It’s a handy ride for drunks smart enough to avoid getting behind the wheel of a car while making sober drivers safer. All you have to do is download the Uber app to your smart phone, request a ride and an independent -network driver will pick you up and generally speaking at a cost less than one of those ratty-looking cabs. Party stress free! Just don’t drop your smart phone in the toilet.

Those Uber drivers are gypsies, tramps, thieves, cutting into our profit margin, traditional cabbies rant.

A legislative committee in Connecticut’s General Assembly is hearing both sides of an argument about regulating the San Francisco-based app service that’s picking up steam in Connecticut.

Want a job, or earn some extra income? If you have a good driving record, a decent car and pass the Uber background check you can join the Uber network of independent drivers, what the industry refers to as Transportation Network Companies.

Nicole Benincasa, policy chief for Uber Technologies in Connecticut, told the legislature’s Transportation Committee that each week in Connecticut, Uber riders take tens of thousands of trips, and thousands of driver partners use Uber as an opportunity to supplement their income through uberX.”

She urged them not to place “prohibitive regulations on TNC’s that will eliminate economic opportunities for drivers and a safe, convenient transportation operation for Connecticut consumers.”

Traditional cabbies are regulated by the state through fares, auto inspections, medical exams and FBI background checks outside the regulation of Transportation Network Companies.

Some cabbies will not venture into higher crime city neighborhoods. Uber drivers do not discriminate based on destination.

The company seeks a separate regulatory structure from traditional cabbies.

“Uber’s top priority is connecting riders to the safest rides on the road,” Benincasa said.”That means always knowing a driver’s information before getting into the car, knowing that every driver on the Uber platform is thoroughly screened, and knowing that every ride is insured…

“TNCs must be required to conduct or have a third party conduct a rigorous background screening process before drivers are able to get on the road. Allowing accredited third parties to conduct the screening will ensure both accuracy and efficiency. This process should include a multistate/ multijurisdictional criminal background check utilizing a primary source search for validation, a National Sex Offender Registry database search, and a driving history report review.

“With regard to ensuring public safety, all TNC partner vehicles on Connecticut roads must be

in safe driving condition. And, in order for a rider to properly and safely identify a vehicle and

driver upon pickup, the TNC must display a picture of the driver and the license plate number

of the vehicle before the passenger enters the vehicle. TNCs must adopt an antidiscrimination

policy that prohibits drivers from discriminating on the basis of destination, race, and other factors.”

If a Uber driver’s insurance fails to provide the required coverage, Uber insurance provides coverage beginning with the first dollar of a claim, according to Benincasa.

So, go ahead, ride in style. No puking in Uber cars, please.



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