Ridesharing Bill Coasts through Senate
JUNEAU – Today, the Alaska State Senate unanimously passed a bill allowing ridesharing services such as Uber, Lyft, and SideCar to operate in Alaska.
House Bill 132, like its companion Senate Bill 14 introduced by Sen. Mia Costello, R-Anchorage, improves transportation and economic opportunity in Alaska by providing clarity to the state’s insurance and workers compensation statutes.
“Alaska is in the midst of its first recession since the 1980s and this bill creates jobs, providing a much-needed boost to the economy,” said Sen. Costello.
The bill classifies rideshare drivers as independent contractors and exempts them from workers’ compensation, similar to taxi drivers.
“Rideshare drivers use their own cars and equipment, work on their own time and can even be off-duty taxi drivers,” Sen. Costello said. “Drivers can work when, where and how they want, which is why it makes sense to allow them to work as independent contractors.”
The bill also requires prospective ridesharing companies to conduct safety background checks, enforce zero tolerance substance policies and numerous other safeguards.
“We made sure important safeguards are in place,” said Sen. Costello. “In addition, ridesharing services will improve safety on the roads – as they have in other states – by reducing the number of DUIs.”
Over 20,000 Alaskans already have a ridesharing application installed on their phones.
“These services improve access to transportation for all Alaskans, but particularly for those living in underserved areas, the elderly and people with disabilities,” said Sen. Costello.
The bill is now on its way to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.