Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft will be regulated by the state, just like taxis and limousines, under legislation passed by the state Senate on Thursday.
Currently, the ride-sharing services generally reach an agreement on regulations with the communities where they operate. But the legislation, which passed with bipartisan majorities in the Senate, would eventually take that local control away and give the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs the authority to regulate ride services.
With the bills, the ride-sharing services will be subject to the fees paid by other types of transportation services like taxis and limousines.
Communities that have agreements with ride-sharing services could continue under those agreements for four years, said Sen. Torry Rocca, R-Sterling Heights.
"We need to get this through so we could bring Uber into the fold because they've basically been operating illegally in Michigan for years now. We've been trying to work with them to bring them into legal compliance," he said. "We need to level the playing field for everybody. The taxicab companies had a fair point that they were paying a lot of fees that Uber wasn't facing."
The bills require background checks and vehicle inspections for all ride services and will allow only drivers who are at least 19 years old. The package also requires airports, including Detroit Metropolitan Airport, to allow all the ride-sharing services to pick up and drop off fares at the airport. But those transportation companies must abide by any ordinances that are in place at the airports.
The bills — SB 392 and HB 4637-4641, all of which passed with at least 30 votes in support — move back to the House for concurrence with changes made by the Senate.