WASHINGTON, (Nov. 12, 2014) – Washington leads the nation in terms of friendliness to vehicle-for-hire transportation, according to a study released today jointly by the R Street Institute and Engine Advocacy.

Ridescore 2014: Hired Driver Rules in U.S. Cities grades 50 of the largest American cities on their legislative framework and friendliness toward Transportation Network Companies (or TNCs, like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar), taxicabs and limousines. The grades for each segment are then combined to give each city a cumulative grade for its transportation regulation.

Washington received the highest score in the country, due in part to its recently advanced law governing TNCs, which creates a new class of for-hire transportation summoned by digital dispatch. It also establishes a single operating license for taxis, sedans and limos, and sets some ground rules for price transparency. It does not cap the size of the taxi fleet and establishes that any new regulations must address legitimate issues of consumer safety.

This earned the city an “A” grade for both TNC and taxi regulation, while some legacy regulations for the limo industry earned it a “B” grade in that area. Nevertheless, the city’s combined score of 95 percent makes it a leader in the nation. Full scoring components and methodology can be found in the study.

“Instead of banning first and asking questions later, Washington has created a relatively open regulatory environment for all for-hire transportation, while guarding against frivolous new regulations,” said Andrew Moylan, R Street executive director and senior fellow. “By allowing TNCs to operate freely, while at the same time easing restrictions on the taxi industry, Washingtonians have the benefit of vigorous competition both within and between each different sector.”

R Street also introduced a user-friendly website at www.ridescore.org that outlines all of the cities and grades. Washington, Minneapolis and Fresno, Calif. scored the highest among major U.S. cities, earning the only combined “A” grades in the study. At the other end of the spectrum, Las Vegas and Portland, Ore. received combined grades of “F,” with Kansas City, Mo.; Philadelphia; and San Antonio, Texas just marginally better, with grades of “D-.”

“Other city governments would do well to closely examine Washington’s model and see how it could apply to their city,” said Moylan.

R Street will host a panel discussion on city-by-city regulations next Wednesday, Nov. 19 at 6:30 pm. The event is open to the public and details can be found here.

Featured Publications