PUC doing its job

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Like the Post-Gazette, I believe “ride-sharing” companies such as Lyft and Uber offer intriguing public transportation alternatives for Pittsburgh. Unlike the Post-Gazette’s recent editorial, “Back Off, PUC: The Agency Either Supports Ride-Share or Not” (April 30), I won’t condemn the Public Utility Commission for doing its job to make sure these services are operated safely.

As an insurance broker with 35 years of experience, I’ve followed this issue closely, even calling on the PUC to conduct a full review of these and other ride-sharing services. There are real issues here, especially with respect to insurance.

In short, personal insurance for ride-sharing drivers most likely excludes coverage for any vehicle operated commercially to carry someone for a fee. That puts the driver — and those they transport — at risk. The companies’ insurance is worded in a manner that protects the companies, not the drivers. So who has the injured party’s back?

What if the PUC had failed to enforce its rules and an accident happened? I can only imagine how that Post-Gazette editorial would read.

The PUC is making the right move here. Expanded consumer choice and increased transportation competition should not be curtailed. But companies shouldn’t be permitted to operate haphazardly either.


The writer, a Republican, represents the 44th Legislative District.

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