New Maryland law lays out regulations for Uber and ride-share companies

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FREDERICK, Md. — Getting a ride has become as easy as pressing a button, but how do you know it’s actually safe?

“Google Uber horror stories. You’ll be blown away at some of the atrocities and things that have been done to people,” said Blaine Young, co-owner of Frederick-based Yellow Cab and Taxi Fiesta.

Young said he’s not against the ride-share service that launched in the state two years ago, but thinks they should have to abide by the same rules and regulations as cab companies. 

“Our drivers have to have a drug screening, they have to have their driver’s records checked, they have to have a criminal background check, and they need to have a physical to check for things like seizures, blood sugars that could affect them transporting someone. It’s precious cargo,” Young said.

But Uber said they’ve been doing almost all of that since they started, and believe the new Maryland state law, which went into effect July 1st ensures the highest level of consumer safety for all ride-share companies. 

“This legislation has created a framework for ride-sharing across all of Maryland. In doing so, its given Uber and all ride-sharing companies permanent homes,” said Uber spokesman Taylor Bennett.

The law mandates criminal background checks and requires drivers to have insurance coverage up to $100,000. Uber said they provide up to $1 million in coverage.

“What this law has done is it codified what Uber has been doing all along, which is providing $1 million in private insurance policy to our partners. Uber has really raised the bar when it comes to background checks and how rigorous they are. The insurance that we provide is multiple times greater than what taxis offer” Bennett said.

However, Young doesn’t like how the company can adjust their prices based on demand, and he plans to bring that up when the city looks more closely at ride-share options in Frederick later this month.

“We’re not opposing Uber or trying to get them shut down or banned. There are taxi cab companies that have taken that approach. All we’re saying is they should have to play by the same rules and regulations that we have to play by,” Young said.

Uber is still growing in the city and overall the company said in one year, they have seen a 350 percent increase in Maryland users.

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