California Taxi Driver Shares Perspective on Uber, Lyft Insurance
BAKERSFIELD, CA. – July 19, 2018 (bakersfield.com) In an opinion piece on bakersfield.com, a California taxi driver shares his perspective on insurance issues with Uber and Lyft, particularly at a local airport.*
Jeffrey Russinsky, a native of Richmond, Virginia, drives for Blue Star Taxi and has lived in Bakersfield, California, for more than 35 years. He says he has been closely following a controversy regarding ridesharing companies, like Uber and Lyft, being able to work at Kern County’s Meadows Field Airport. “First,” he said, “people need to understand that Uber and Lyft are essentially taxi companies that do not provide the same benefits and protections. Uber and Lyft are not ride share services,” Russinsky wrote. “They provide door[-]to[-]door service in a private car for a rate based on distance traveled. That is a taxi service, pure and simple.”
In addition, the drivers who work for Uber and Lyft are independent contractors, not employees for these companies, he said. This means the drivers need to provide their own vehicles, fuel the vehicles, maintain the vehicles, and insure the vehicles. Personal insurance, however, does not cover use of a vehicle for passenger carry, Russinsky points out, so drivers need to obtain commercial liability insurance on top of their personal auto insurance. The problem is, Russinsky says, most Uber and Lyft drivers do not have commercial liability insurance, and the companies do not enforce the laws that require drivers to obtain it.
Without this added insurance, he writes, when Uber and Lyft drivers pick up passengers at the Meadows Field Airport, the airport risks taking the liability for anything that happens. This cost will then be passed on to the taxpayers, Russinsky says. Russinsky writes that both the drivers and the public need to understand that using the airport means playing by the rules.
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