The National Academies

TCRP J-05/Topic 17-03 [Completed]

Legal Considerations in Relationships Between Transit Agencies and Ride-Sourcing Service Providers

  Project Data
Funds: $50,000
Research Agency: Waite & Associates
Principal Investigator: Jocelyn K. Waite
Effective Date: 12/1/2016
Completion Date: 2/28/2018

Transportation network companies (TNCs), such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, and services such as Chariot, Via, and Bridj, (collectively, ride-sourcing services) have emerged over the last few years as technology-based transportation providers. TNCs provide competition with traditional ride-hailing services (taxis), and with public transit.

Ride-sourcing services have not fallen within traditional regulatory schemes. Now, states and municipalities have struggled to come up with appropriate regulatory responses to protect passengers, resulting in a patchwork of rules that vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Of late, ride-sourcing services have partnered with transit agencies to complete trips for transit passengers (“first mile, last mile”). These partnerships may or may not be contractual. For example, MARTA in Atlanta conducted a short pilot program with Uber for the first mile, last mile service. Other agencies have included ride-sourcing services on their ride-planning apps. Such connections with public transit present potential regulatory, liability, procurement, and other legal concerns.

The report will address the following issues:            

  • Ride-sourcing services in the United States and what they do.
  • State or municipal legislative or regulatory schemes that affect a ride-sourcing service’s potential relationship with a transit agency.
  • Which transit agencies in the United States have relationships with ride-sourcing services and a description of those relationships. 
  • Necessary provisions in any contract between a ride-sourcing service and a public transit agency.
  • Necessary provisions in any contract between a ride-sourcing service and a public transit agency.
  • Whether there have been agreements or discussions between ride-sourcing services and transit agencies to offer paratransit services. 
  • Measures that have been taken by municipalities or transit agencies to prevent ride-sourcing services from blocking bus stops or taxi stands?
  • Potential legal and risk management issues stemming from potential relationships between ride-sourcing services and transit agencies.

The objective of this research is to provide transit agencies with legal guidance for considering whether to enter into relationships with ride-sourcing service providers.

Status: Completed; Published as TCRP Legal Research Digest 53: Legal Considerations in Relationships Between Transit Agencies and Ridesourcing Service Providers


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