Given the legal uncertainties and ongoing changes to policy and legislation surrounding ride-sharing, the future of this growing industry is uncertain. Recent litigation questioning the status of Uber drivers could have immense implication on the cop orate structure not only of Uber, also for all other similar ride-sharing service companies. Although legislation has been passed in some cities, it is still the subject of controversy in other cities and states. For example, disagreement over whether limitations should be placed on ride-sharing services persist between New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. Mayor DeBlasio pushed to limit the number of Uber drivers within New York City limits, while Governor Cuomo welcomed the expansion of ride-sharing throughout the state, reasoning that it will create jobs and expand the economy.
Other unresolved questions surrounding this new business model continue to prompt debate amongst lawmakers. Although some cities and states, such as California, have developed new laws mandating certain insurance for ride-sharing drivers, others have resisted. Officials in Buffalo, for example, find the lack of insurance regulation in this industry too unsafe, so prohibit ride-sharing companies like Lyft and Uber from operating inside the city. In fact, the Attorney General of New York, Eric Schneiderman, sued Lyft for operating in violation of local regulations in Rochester and Buffalo, resulting in a $300,000 settlement. Further controversy surrounds the potential threat to taxi-drivers and companies, a threat that has also sparked litigation.
Many policy experts point out that the rapid expansion of this industry has left lawmakers unprepared. Together with other “sharing” companies and websites such as Airbnb and Etsy.com, the “sharing industry” has prompted legislators and regulators to start from scratch on many of these unanswered issues, since the industry poses completely novel legal concerns. Similar to many new technologies, lawmakers scramble to find ways to adapt quickly to the rapid changes prompted by the industry.