Rhode Island: Uber Drivers Subject to Arrest Starting Next Week

marmich

New Member
I was picking up a fare tonight in Newport, Rhode Island and a policeman waved me down on Thames Street downtown. He asked if I was an Uber driver and when I said yes, he asked if I had a "blue card" and a commercial driver's license. When I said I did not, he indicated that this is a Rhode Island state requirement, that Uber was supposed to have informed drivers of this fact, and said that he would let me off with a warning this time. Starting next week, he said, this would be strictly enforced STATEWIDE. Moreover, he said, I would not just be issued a ticket; if I was observed picking up a person and it was determined I was doing so for payment I would be arrested and charged. He advised me that I should heed the warning and stop driving.

I can only assume he is giving me information based on the guidance he is getting, which may well be driven by political and or local pressures from local taxi companies competing with Uber drivers. I wanted to let Uber know and make other drivers aware, and so if anything happens there is a record.

I sent an email to Uber as well.
 

hmmmmm

Member
That sucks. I definately wouldnt drive anymore in ri if i were you. I am very interested to hear what uber has to say about this. That said, Trust what the cop said, don't trust uber. Uber ignored rules in east hampton ny a few months ago and i remember reading that the town arrested several drivers until uber shut off the app. dont let you and your car become uber's guinnea pig.
 

marmich

New Member
Passengers had just entered the car - the policeman watched them get in and saw the whole conversation (confirmation of names, checking the app, etc.) He clearly watched the entire interaction. What was interesting is that he did NOT ask me for my license and registration. Rather it was very specifically: what kind of license do you have? do you have a "blue card" to pick up passengers? That kind of thing.

No response from uber so far...
 

marmich

New Member
Response from uber below:


Many jurisdictions have not yet determined if or how to regulate innovative new services like Uber. We are actively working with the appropriate regulatory bodies to provide that clarity for our riders and partners.

That being said, you should partner with Uber in confidence. Our team has your back 100% and should you ever run into trouble as a result of your use of the Uber app, we will reimburse you for any regulatory citation received as well as provide any necessary legal support.

The only documents you need to have to be operating on the Uber Platform legally is a Drivers license, insurance, and registration. Please make sure all of these documents are updated and as I can see in the system they are so you are all set.

The blue card the officer was referring to is a blue card that commercial drivers need to have. But as you know Michael you are not a professional driver and you do not need these documents. You are a Peer to Peer partner. Providing services to your peers. All in all, your in accordance with all requirements.
 

Brandon26pdx

Active Member
"As you know Michael, you might be subject to arrest soon for not following local ordinances in Rhode Island pertaining to for-hire vehicles, but as an innovative (and sleazy) new company, we find this to be an acceptable risk so that we may continue to profit at your expense."

There...translated that for you.
 

observer

Well-Known Member
Moderator
There's a thread on the forum where Ubers got Florida drivers "backs". Uber hasn't paid fines for over 2,000 drivers. Some fines are over a year old and in collections.

Of course, all fines and responsibility are for drivers.

Ohhh and Uber is or has pulled out of 2-3 counties...
 

Providence Thomas

New Member

Newport Uber Drivers Probably Have A Reprieve…For Now
By Tristan Pinnock. July 21, 2015

THERE HASN’T BEEN A CHANGE OF POLICY.

City Councillor John Florez spoke to Newport’s City Manager on the matter of Uber drivers facing arrest yesterday. He was told the Newport police officer misspoke when he told an Uber driver that they’d face arrest if they picked up passengers without a chauffeur’s license or commercial vehicle permit. Florez was told that Uber is currently outside of the Newport Police Department’s jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, the Uber driver who originally received the warning that they could be arrested posted this response they got from Uber.

Many jurisdictions have not yet determined if or how to regulate innovative new services like Uber. We are actively working with the appropriate regulatory bodies to provide that clarity for our riders and partners.

That being said, you should partner with Uber in confidence. Our team has your back 100% and should you ever run into trouble as a result of your use of the Uber app, we will reimburse you for any regulatory citation received as well as provide any necessary legal support.

The only documents you need to have to be operating on the Uber Platform legally is a Drivers license, insurance, and registration. Please make sure all of these documents are updated and as I can see in the system they are so you are all set.

The blue card the officer was referring to is a blue card that commercial drivers need to have. But as you know Michael you are not a professional driver and you do not need these documents. You are a Peer to Peer partner. Providing services to your peers. All in all, your[sic] in accordance with all requirements.

So if you’re an Uber driver or user, it would appear that you can proceed normally…at least until the the General Assembly returns for its September session where a number of bills regarding TNCs (Transportation Network Companies) will come off the table.




Still, might not want to risk it!?!
 

marmich

New Member
Thanks to all who responded thoughtfully to this, and apologies for taking so long to respond. I wrote the original post on this thread and wanted to provide an update. I did call the police department in Newport not long after the experience, politely explained what had happened, and asked if there was any additional, specifically asking whether I could drive as an uber driver. The person I spoke with consulted with a supervisor and then referred me to the state office that licenses taxis for more information but would not be more specific. They wouldn't comment on what the police officer had said. So I guess the local guidance is still in flux. Like many others here, I am concerned that if ticketed (much less arrested) it becomes a time and $ impact, and even if ultimately settled (with or without help from Uber's lawyers) there's an arrest record that leads to other issues...
 

ChauffeurUnlshd

New Member
The blue card or as is referred to the PUC/ Blue chip placard can only be optained by upgrading your license to Chutney/Taxy driver, becoming a comercial license and having a clean driving record for at least 3 years with no convictions or violations which you need to optain and provide a clean drivers record from the DMV and also having a clean BCI check aka Criminal Background check done and turn back fully clean, and has to be renewed every 9 to 10 months and all steps except for the license must be done every time. Taxis and Limo drivers all over RI have to do this so get ready you guys will too soon enough if it's not already in place.
 

SailingWithThe Breeze

Well-Known Member
This thread is over two years old and this change never took effect. I’m not sure why the person above me tried to resurrect it.

Nothing to see here folks. Uber on!
 
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