Draft Report: Taxis to Be Outnumbered by Rideshare Drivers in Virginia

November 20, 2014

A draft state report predicts taxis will be outnumbered by ride-sharing drivers after Virginia begins regulating the industry.

The report estimates that 5,900 personal vehicles would be registered under a ride-sharing company. That’s 500 more than the number of taxis currently operating in Virginia, according to The Virginian-Pilot, which obtained a copy of the draft report by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

Ride-sharing companies, also known as transportation network companies, use smartphone apps to dispatch drivers who use their personal vehicles to give people rides. The drivers then share the fares they collect with the companies.

The draft report proposes regulations for the industry that appear to be slightly more stringent than a temporary agreement announced in August that allows ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft to operate in Virginia, the newspaper said.

The study also examined whether the traditional taxi industry should be deregulated to allow for fairer competition, but did not make any recommendations.

The taxi industry will continue to lobby for stricter regulation of ride-sharing companies, said Frank Azzalina, director of business development for Hampton Roads Transportation Inc., a taxi dispatcher.
“We’re surprised that it’s not clear that there is no difference between a TNC and a taxi — that they do the exact same things, so the exact same regulations should be in place,” Azzalina told the newspaper.

The report recommended creating an annual $50 fee for each vehicle that’s registered to operate for a ride-sharing company. A $70,000 initial license fee was recommended for the company itself, along with a $3,000 annual renewal fee. Revenue from the fees would go toward covering the cost of the additional regulations, including adding three new full-time employees in the DMV’s law enforcement division.

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