Gov. signs law to transform Public Service Commission
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló signed Senate Bill 525 that creates the “Administrative Transformation of the Public Service Commission Law,” a statute that simplifies and standardizes requirements that any operator of passenger ground transportation must meet.
“With this law we incorporate new industry trends while strengthening and guaranteeing the right of citizens to choose among all transport alternatives available within a regulatory framework to ensure public safety and fair competition,” Rosselló said.
This law will allow access by services like Uber and eliminates unnecessary requirements that put taxi drivers at a disadvantage. In addition, the law creates the Public Transport Ombudsperson.
According to the measure, Transportation Network companies such as Uber, Lyft and other platforms, must certify that they have adopted mechanisms to enforce the provisions of the law — that they have insurance; that any vehicle used meets the regulations; and that they have adopted a policy of zero tolerance to the use and consumption of illicit drugs and alcohol.
They must also certify that they have adopted an anti-discrimination policy; that their mobile application shows a picture of the driver, as well as the car model and license plate number before the client gets in the vehicle; and that they have a resident agent to ensure compliance with the law.
Similarly, taxis, tourist taxis, ambulances and public cars are grouped under the PSC’s jurisdiction.
Sen. Miguel Laureano, who was responsible for analyzing the measure, said, “We are pleased to have worked and passed a fair measure for our transportation sector, addressing their concerns and which at the same time allows us to evolve through the regulation and integration of other transport methods in line with the digital age.”
“We hope that users will benefit from the outcome and that it results in better service and economic development in the island,” Laureano said.
PSC President Luis Damián-García, said “with this law, the people will have greater opportunity to choose the services they are interested in obtaining in a framework of fair competition.”
“In addition, the new law simplifies the requirements that must taxi operators must meet and streamlines all administrative procedures at the agency so that services can be provided without the bureaucratic hurdles of the past,” García added.
Several members of the island’s transportation industry expressed support Wednesday for the new law and the efforts the new PSC is heading.
Francisco Pereira-Hernández, president of the Oriental/Central Private Ambulance Association of Puerto Rico, said “this bill that has just been approved does justice to what our industry for years had fought for. We reaffirm our support and full backing for future projects like this, which seek to improve Puerto Rico’s situation.”
Meanwhile, Luis Falcón, president of the Authentic Transport Confederation, said ” Puerto Rico truckers thank the governor for signing this new law because, for the first time in many years of making claims, it does justice to all of Puerto Rico’s public transporters and united, we will lift transportation and Puerto Rico.”
Juan Andión, general manager of Uber for the Caribbean, thanked the governor and the Legislature for the aperture the administration has shown with more than 4,000 drivers and more than 111,000 users using the Uber application in Puerto Rico.
“We want to be part of the island’s economic recovery, providing self-employment opportunities to generate economic gains for thousands of families, and greater freedom and mobility for both the citizen and for those who visit us,” said Andión.