Richmond, Va. — Concerned members of the Virginia Limousine Association (VLA) took on lobbyists from Uber in legislature meetings on January 20 in regard to changes in bills that are being put before the Va. Transportation Subcommittee on January 22 and the Va. State Senate on January 24.
The meetings were attended by Sen. John Watkins, (R) Va. 10th District, Delegate Ronald Villanueva, (R) Va. 21st District and VLA members Betty Callahan of Bay Breeze Limousine Service, Audrey Stroud of Society Coach Lines and Paul Walsh of Superior Executive Transportation, who travelled four hours round trip from Virginia Beach to attend, along with Stephen Story of James River Transportation and VLA President Glenn Stafford of Love Limousine.
The general thrust of these meetings was to properly edify the legislators who have been given the erroneous impression by Uber lobbyists that the proposed changes in long-standing state transportation bills regarding proper licensing and insurance are beneficial to the chauffeured ground transportation industry. VLA members were there to oppose this position and to convince the legislators that Uber and UberX are a detriment to public safety because they would continue to hold no liability or accountability if these changes were passed.
Interestingly, the Uber representatives present at the meetings denied that UberX was available in the state of Virginia at that moment. This was assertion was refuted by VLA President Glenn Stafford who pulled up the fully functioning app on his smartphone and showed the legislators that UberX cars are indeed available in most of Virginia’s major cities.
Delegate Villanueva requested the presence of Virginia DMV Commissioner, Richard Holcomb, at the meetings to clarify the agency’s position on these issues. Commissioner Holcomb stated that Uber, at the minimum, needed a broker license in Virginia before any kind of discussion on these matters can even begin. The Uber lobbyists stated that they are getting this license but, to date, have yet to properly apply.
“Bottom line, we believe we have convinced the patrons to hold the bill over until the industry stakeholders, including Uber, can hammer out a proper solution and bring the solution back next year,” says Glenn Stafford. “They want it solved and are giving the participants an opportunity to work amongst ourselves to figure it out. Although, the meat grinder of a legislative session is not the place to rush this through.”
Visit www.virginialimousineassociation.org for more information.