Resolution 2021-04 Regarding Rideshare Services in Colorado

Resolution: 2021-04

WHEREAS, the latest jobs statistics indicate that almost ¾ of blind Coloradans are unemployed or significantly underemployed; and

WHEREAS, in order for people who are blind or visually impaired to participate actively in every aspect of life including worship, education, family and community activities, and employment, affordable and easily available transportation options must exist; and

WHEREAS, public transportation services such as city buses and trains have been reduced since the start of the pandemic and are often not regularly available—particularly in rural areas of the state; and

WHEREAS, Uber and Lyft have, out of necessity, become transportation services on which consumers in Colorado are increasingly reliant; and

WHEREAS, Coloradans who are most significantly economically disadvantaged—especially those who are unemployed or underemployed—have fewer personal transportation options available to them and thus are more likely to be affected when the quality of transportation services either improves or, as has been the case, declines; and

WHEREAS, the algorithms used by the technologically-oriented rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft are based on a model of supply and demand, meaning that prices tend to increase as the demand for transportation grows while the supply of drivers shrinks; and

WHEREAS, rideshare services have indicated that, like many sectors in today's business climate, a shortage of drivers accompanied by increasing demand for transportation has meant that the algorithms they use routinely drive prices to serge; and

WHEREAS, in the case of the blind, it is all too often that surge rates have become so exorbitant as to be unusable and often come as a complete surprise to the blind user; and

WHEREAS, the algorithms used by rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft, which today result in wildly fluctuating prices—particularly during periods of high demand for transportation—could be modified to reduce, if not eliminate, the wildest fluctuations and deliver more consistent pricing than is now the case: Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation Of The Blind Of Colorado in convention assembled this 31st day of October, 2021, in the city of Lone Tree, Colorado, that this organization call upon the Colorado Public Utilities Commission—the governmental entity which regulates transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft—to investigate the rideshare services provided by these companies to ensure that the business model they use is not injurious to the needs of Colorado’s most economically disadvantaged citizens; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization request that the Colorado Public Utilities Commission provide a report of its findings to the public no later than February, 2022; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon the Colorado General Assembly to investigate and provide the necessary oversight to ensure that the network transportation companies in Colorado such as Uber and Lyft provide a measure of equality, consistency, and transparency when offering rideshare services in the state.