Salmom Upstream, LLC

Developing and implementing real-world community solutions.

'Motor Carrier' Transport in Virginia and Lynchburg

Below is a summary of the 3 main types of for-hire transport in Virginia.

Below is a summary of the 3 main types of for-hire transport in Virginia. Like most states, "Taxicabs" are regulated locally, though the VA DMV does require a "For-Hire" license plate, which is $50. None of this includes non-emergent medical transport, but I wonder: if you are in a wheelchair, how do you get around if you want to go somewhere other than a doctor's appointment? I guess fun is not important if you are disabled.

Shouldn't all of this be standardized? For example, taxi fares are regulated, transportation network company fares (TNCs, or Uber and Lyft) are not. The state has basic driver requirements for TNCs, but taxi requirements are left to the city (which has no say in the TNC driver vetting process). Taxis have to use a taximeter, TNCs are only allowed to accept payment via electronic transfer.

None of this makes any sense to me. A paid ride is a paid ride, and the same standards should apply to all. This is why we should change the local taxi regulations to include drivers that are currently TNCs. Transportation is a big issue for us, it is a major factor in the health of our city. If we want to fix it, we are going to have to fix it ourselves. We have little control over what the state does, but we do have local control over what we consider taxis. So just make it ALL taxis, set the standards where we want them, and let the state continue to chase its own tail. Uber and Lyft are still free to operate as they wish -- we have no control over that -- and they will remain an asset to us. But in the meantime, we can build something significantly better.

Let's start here:

Sec. 37-25. Restriction on number of passengers.

No driver shall permit more than five (5) persons, other than the driver, to be carried in a taxicab. A child in arms shall not be counted as an additional person. (Tax Code 1959, § 31-12)

Last updated date: 10/23/2006 4:15:21 PM

TNC's are allowed 8 including the driver. A modern minivan can have 8 seats, so this seems reasonable, but there are 15 passenger vans, and that's where the state common carrier cutoff is. The main goal here is ***safety.***I propose:

"No driver shall permit more total passengers including the driver than the vehicle was designed to accommodate, as verified by the taxicab inspector. All safety options including seat belts and airbags as provided upon original manufacture of the vehicle must be in full working order for all passengers and driver. The typical taxi vehicle shall not exceed eight (8) passengers including the driver. A waiver from the taxicab inspector may extend the total number of passengers and driver to not more than fifteen (15) people in appropriate situations, at the discretion of the inspector. This waiver shall be kept in the vehicle at all times. Children must be transported in accordance with all federal and state regulations including the use of infant or child booster seats as appropriate, and these seats must be secured in a manner compliant with all vehicle and restraint manufacturer recommendations in the appropriate location within the vehicle to assure maximum safety of all passengers."

Below is a summary of state code, which we have little to no control over:

  1. Common Carrier
  • Excludes: non-emergent medical transport; Taxis; TNCs.
  • 15 persons or less including driver
  • Must have certificate from DMV
  • May not charge more than rates on file with DMV (who sets rates?)
  • Must apply to DMV to change rates
  • Must file a tariff (includes all rules and policies).
  • Insurance requirements: 1-6 passengers: $350,000. 7-15: $1,500,000
  • Must keep $25,000 bond on file with DMV.
  • For-Hire plates, vehicle registered as for-hire, $50 filing fee, $3 fee per vehicle.
  1. Taxicab
  • No more than 6 passengers (plus driver).
  • Cannot operate on a predetermined route or bus route.
  • Jurisdictional ordinances (city code).
  • No tariff.
  • Insurance: $125,000 bodily injury and property damage policy.
  • Taxi-specific registration and license plates, $50 fee, $3 per vehicle.

III. Transportation Network Companies

  • "Digital Platform"

    • Must use digital platform to match driver and rider.
    • Must use via electronic payment over the platform (no requirement for amounts).
    • Electronic receipt to rider.
    • Ride manifest
  • Age requirement (>21)

  • Background check requirement

    • Initial plus every 2 years.
    • No violent felons.
    • No registered sex offenders.
  • Driving history:

    • Initial plus annual
  • Vehicle requirements:

    • Personal or authorized rental
    • CANNOT be registered "For Hire"
    • No more than 8 seats, including the driver
    • Valid title and registration in some state (no salvage, etc)
    • Inspected somewhere
    • Insured with commercial policy (no values stipulated).