MONTGOMERY — Alabama, your ride will be arriving soon.
Gov. Kay Ivey pulled up in style Thursday to sign a bill into law that has the potential to take ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft statewide.
Joined by the bill's two sponsors — Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, and Rep. David Faulkner, R-Mountain Brook — the governor arrived at the State Capitol in an Uber.
"Before we get started, I want to give our drivers five stars," Ivey said with a smile.
The law sets statewide standards for regulation of the ride-hailing companies. With the regulations handled at the state level instead of on the local level, the companies will be able to offer rides across the state and between different cities.
"We are paving the way for everyone in Alabama to have that same access to a reliable ride with the touch of a button regardless of where you might live," Ivey said.
Before the act was signed into law, Uber and Lyft could only operate in cities and municipalities where local officials had ironed out regulation agreements with the two major companies.
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Auburn was one of those cities. The city last year approved an ordinance after negotiations with Uber. A few months after Uber started offering rides, Lyft began operating in the city.
The Loveliest Village was one of only 15 cities and municipalities in Alabama with a ride-hailing service. The bill's sponsors said this was largely because smaller cities did not have the resources or the customer base to attract the two major ride-hailing services.
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Auburn SGA President Dane Block and the University of Alabama's student government vice president of external affairs introduced Ivey. Block said the move was a positive for millennials in Alabama, particularly those of college age, who need to be able to call a safe ride.
"Each and every day Auburn and Alabama students use ride-hailing apps like Lyft and Uber to get safe, efficient and reliable rides home," Block said.
Alabama is the 45th state in the nation to implement statewide regulations.
“We want to thank the Governor for her support of this law. Lyft is providing tens of thousands of Alabamians earning opportunities and transportation options that did not exist a few short years ago,” said Scott Coriell, communications manager for Lyft. “We’re excited to expand those benefits to more individuals and families around the state in the coming months.”
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