Poll: Public divided on Uber, Lyft regulation

Poll: Public divided on Uber, Lyft regulation

More people believe Uber and Lyft should not be regulated like taxis, but there is a large population that has heard nothing about the debate over ride-hailing services, according to a Pew Research poll

Forty-two percent of people who have heard about the debate believe the ride-hailing companies should not be regulated like taxis. Another 35 percent think they should, while 23 percent aren't sure on the matter. 

ADVERTISEMENT
However, a majority of people in the United States, 51 percent, know nothing at all about the regulatory debate or ride-hailing companies in general. 

The companies are valued in the billions of dollars and have battled local regulators in a number of major cities. 

Uber and Lyft recently decided to leave Austin after they failed to win a reprieve from requirements to have their drivers undergo fingerprinting as part of their background checks. 

Overall, 15 percent of Americans have used ride-hailing apps. Because of the business model of the companies, users are primarily based in urban and suburban areas. Use is also concentrated among college graduates, young people and people with relatively high incomes. 

There is consensus among that small group of users: Ride-hailing companies should not be regulated like taxis, and they believe drivers should be classified as independent contractors.

Sixty-five percent of Republicans who use the services believe they should not be regulated like taxis, while 54 percent of Democrats feel the same. 

Among users, 66 percent believe drivers should be classified as independent contractors. Only 23 percent believe they should be full employees with benefits. 

That classification of drivers had dogged the companies. They have both settled multimillion-dollar class-action lawsuits from drivers alleging that they were unfairly classified as contractors, which does not entitle them to employee benefits.

The survey also looked at other gig-economy companies like Airbnb. Eleven percent of the population has used similar services. A majority of people who have heard about the regulatory debate believe those services should not have to pay taxes leveled on hotels. 

The poll surveyed 4,787 people and has a margin of error of 1.9 percentage points.