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Lawmakers must act quickly to ensure safety measures for ridsharing services, legislator says.

Susan McLain is representative for House District 29, representing Forest Grove, Cornelius and west Hillsboro.

McLainRecently, I have heard from seniors in my district who are looking for easier ways to access critical services like medical care, grocery stores and other necessary errands. My friends and constituents have asked me how to use rideshare services when public transit and other transportation options are unavailable or inaccessible. Some seniors didn't think they would be able to navigate the apps or understand the process, but with a little help from friends, children and grandchildren they have been able to greatly improve their mobility through rideshare services.

Now more than ever, Oregonians are turning to rideshare as an efficient, reliable and affordable transportation option. Unfortunately, the benefits that rideshare has brought to cities such as Portland, Eugene and Corvallis aren't available to all Oregon communities and the thousands of tourists that come to explore our state's natural wonders and local businesses in places like the Gorge and along the coast.

A recent statewide poll found that 82% of Oregon voters support a framework that would allow ridesharing across the state. Further, 91% said rideshare is beneficial to Oregon because it offers an easy alternative to people who are intoxicated or unable to drive, reducing the amount of impaired driving.

With such strong public support for ridesharing, it is time that state legislators move forward to extend ridesharing to all of Oregon. This effort to create statewide rideshare legislation has been years in the making, includes multiple stakeholders from both urban and rural communities and is an issue that rises above party politics that too often dominate the legislature.

After listening to stakeholders, experts and city officials, I authored HB 3023A that establishes centralized, statewide licensing and consistent safety standards for rideshare companies, drivers and vehicles in Oregon. This legislation will improve transportation equity across the state, by bringing an additional transportation option to cities large and small.

Because not every community will have the same needs, nor will every city have the capacity or desire to individually work with ridesharing services to create their regulations, the legislation gives cities a level of flexibility to manage local field enforcement and develop new options to better serve Oregonians with disabilities.

HB 3023A requires safety measures and oversight of ridesharing services including insurance requirements, vehicle safety and environmental standards, driver background checks, records and data, and accessibility and equity. In short, this legislation helps streamlines the process of regulating ridesharing for drivers and governments, while keeping safety at the forefront.

With the legislative session quickly drawing to a close, it is important that legislators act quickly to ensure equal and consistent access across Oregon to Lyft and Uber. It's past time that all Oregonians enjoy rideshare, not just the big cities.

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