The California Public Utilities Commission, the body that regulates ride-hailing, has unanimously voted to reverse a policy that allowed safety reports filed by Uber and Lyft to be kept hidden from the public. The commission receives these reports, but due to an obscure footnote inserted into its rules in 2013, does not release them to the public or to local government agencies. The vote came after extensive reporting in the San Francisco Public Press that revealed how the footnote kept the public in the dark about accidents, incidents and assaults connected with ride-hailing. Seth Rosenfeld, the reporter on the story, says the decision shows signs of improving transparency but more can be done to ensure access to data about ride-hailing safety.
“I hope that the commission will continue on its path towards greater transparency. It plays an absolutely crucial role, and a unique role, in regulating the most powerful utilities that Californians rely on in their daily lives…It’s heartening to see it moving towards greater transparency but it remains to be seen how far it will go towards fulfilling its commitment.” — Seth Rosenfeld