Over the past few years, services like Uber and Lyft have made finding a way back to the hotel after a full day of convention programming much easier. However, many destinations are struggling to balance unregulated ride-sharing companies with the traditional taxi industry. In Massachusetts, the House recently approved a new piece of legislation that would ban Uber and Lyft from picking up customers at convention center properties for the next five years. Now, as the bill makes its way to the Senate, a new article in the Boston Globe highlights that convention center officials are worried the move will frustrate attendees.
“[Our customers] are taking the ride-sharing companies, and if you take that away, then our business will suffer,” James Folk, director of transportation at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority said. “We’re trying to get as many people here for economic stimulus and everything else, and if we lose that, we’re going to lose our customers.”
It’s no secret that ride-sharing services are having a negative impact on many taxi drivers. In Boston, though, the issue isn’t simply rooted in future earnings for individual drivers. Taxi medallion sales were part of the money that helped finance the construction of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. “I love the convention center, but they wouldn’t be in that building if the taxi financing didn’t help put it together,” Representative Michael Moran said in the Globe article.
Ride-Sharing Around The World
Uber and Lyft have soared in popularity. A new report from expense management supplier Certify shows that ride-sharing services made up 46 percent of ground transportation transactions. It’s not surprising; waving a hand in the air and hoping a driver will stop isn’t exactly a convenient approach to getting from here to there.
As business travelers enjoy the ease of opening an app and requesting a ride, Massachusetts isn’t the only destination aiming to protect taxi drivers. Ride-sharing is still illegal in Las Vegas, and in other parts of the world like Amsterdam and Rio de Janeiro, lawmakers are introducing new proposals to limit or ban the services.
The meetings industry means big potential business for Uber and Lyft. Check out “Uber Looks To Cash In On Conventions” to learn more.