SPRINGFIELD (The Center Square) – Some state lawmakers are looking to hold rideshare companies in Illinois to the same standard as other common carriers like taxis.
State Rep. Jennifer-Gong Gershowitz, D-Glenview, introduced House Bill 2231, which would set up a new standard for companies like Uber and Lyft by getting rid of an exemption that says rideshare companies are not responsible for their drivers.
Gong-Gershowitz explained her measure on Thursday.
“House Bill 2231 puts rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft on the same playing field as taxis and other common carriers,” Gong-Gershowitz said. “The policy rationale for granting this statutory exemption nearly a decade ago no longer makes sense, and its extended use harms public safety.”
State Rep. Patrick Windhorst, R-Harrisburg, asked about the additional costs this measure could have on rideshare companies.
“Was there any concern expressed about the increase in costs affecting the ability of these companies to operate in Illinois or affecting their operations in Illinois,” Windhorst asked.
Gong-Gershowitz did not give a clear answer to the question but said the focus should be on the passenger’s safety.
“Once a rider gets into that car, they can ensure that the utmost standard applies to them whether they are in an Uber, Lyft or taxi or any other common carrier,” Gong-Gershowitz said.
Windhorst warned some companies could end up wanting to leave the state.
“One of the reasons these entities have been so successful has been the costs involved are not as great as the other entities,” Windhorst said. “By increasing regulations or burdens on business, we may drive them out.”
Gong-Gershowitz said lawmakers have failed to hold these companies accountable for their care of riders.
“This body continues to grant a certain business that exemption from the highest body of care,” Gong-Gershowitz said.
The bill passed the House 73-36 and now awaits to be sent to the Illinois Senate.
Andrew Hensel has years of experience as a reporter and pre-game host for the Joliet Slammers, and as a producer for the Windy City Bulls. A graduate of Iowa Wesleyan University and Illinois Media School, Andrew lives in the south suburbs of Chicago.