Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill into law that allows ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft to operate statewide.
The legislation proposed by Rep. David Faulkner, a Republican, and Sen. Bobby Singleton, a Democrat, will charge ridesharing companies a fee to be given to the Public Service Commission. The commission will regulate companies, issue permits and implement discrimination and substance abuse policies.
Alabama is the 45th state to pass ridesharing legislation. Currently, Uber and Lyft run in Alabama’s urban centers under city laws.
Ivey arrived to the signing at the Alabama State Capitol in a ridesharing car. She was joined by advocates, drivers and university student government leaders. Price McGiffert from the University of Alabama and Dane Block from Auburn University said students hail ridesharing apps every day.
Ivey said the law would mobilize visitors and Alabamians, especially in rural areas.
“We are paving the way for everyone in Alabama to have a ride just with the touch of a button, regardless of where you might be in Alabama,” Ivey said.
Ivey said expanding ridesharing companies would create job opportunities and give a boost to local economies as people use the service to get to restaurants or late-night events. Renee Stevenson, a ridesharing driver and retiree, said she likes the flexible schedule and locations.
Ivey added that by sharing rides with a professional driver, Uber and Lyft reduce the possibility of drunken driving.
The same bill did not pass the Senate last year.
It will go into effect on July 1.
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