As the popularity of ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft has risen over the past few years, so has the debate surrounding the controversial services. And with Uber extending its operation into Manchester in October of 2014 and subsequently expanding to cover most of southern New Hampshire, many residents may be wondering; is Uber legal in New Hampshire?
The answer depends upon your location in New Hampshire. Currently, New Hampshire does not regulate taxis at the state level. Instead, the State defines what a “taxicab service” is, and leaves the regulatory decision making up to each town or city. Until recently, Manchester, Concord, Nashua, and Portsmouth all required that taxi drivers become licensed with the city, regulated prices, restricted entry into the taxicab industry through fees and permit caps, and required drivers meet various other safety and conduct standards.
Uber claims, however, that taxicab regulations do not apply them, arguing that they are not running a taxi dispatch center, but merely providing a smartphone app that allows users to connect and arrange for a ride. This, arguably, is not the same as running a taxi dispatch center.
The public reaction to Uber in New Hampshire has varied from place to place. Nashua, where Uber has operated since early 2015, allows the service, but requires that drivers register with the city. Manchester, where there has been prolonged debate over the issue, has recently demanded that Uber drivers pass state background checks (in addition to the private checks performed by Uber). Similarly, Portsmouth requires all drivers (Uber or taxi) to provide proof of commercial personal injury and property damage liability insurance and a background check. This came following the city’s decision to eliminate its taxi commission, paving the way for Uber to operate in the city. However, despite its new “legal” status in Portsmouth, an Uber driver received a citation for failing to comply with these new regulations in October, 2015.
In conclusion, although many areas in New Hampshire allow ride-sharing apps to operate, it may still be wise to check your local ordinances or consult a local law enforcement official before signing up.
The business attorneys at Welts, White & Fontaine, P.C. have a deep understanding of the State of New Hampshire and local administrative and regulatory frame work governing a wide array of businesses and business activities and have been successfully representing New Hampshire based individuals and businesses with their compliance efforts since 1978.
This blog is intended for informational use only. The information contained herein should not be construed as offering legal advice or a legal opinion.
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