In his ‘State of the Union’ at the Annual Meeting of the International Association of Transportation Regulators (IATR) in New Orleans (September 21-24), president Matt Daus spoke of a ‘New World Order’: “Some people believe the changes we are seeing are due to a conspiracy theory, to sinister people acting behind the scenes. Fact is that change in the industry is very slow. And that as the disruption we are seeing is more like an earthquake. We’re seeing things we never believed would happen.” And, regularly referring to writers like Aldous Huxley (‘Brave New World’) and other sci-fi high priests, Daus predicted more government involvement in regulating what are rapidly becoming app logistics companies rather than simple apps or taxi and FHV companies: “The merger of big data and transportation makes that everything is global now.”
The ‘New World Order’ Daus was predicting, is a regulatory reform that might even include some forms of deregulation. “What is it going to look like? There will certainly be new players.” Some of the behaviour of TNC (Transportation Network Companies) Daus ascribed to the work of the IATR on app-regulation. The same route is being followed with accessibility, where IATR has been working on world-wide standards.
“This is the biggest IATR has ever been”, Daus said. “Every continent is being represented. The IATR model regulations are the glue that holds this organization together.” And in an update on new activities, Daus promised the IATR would get data from technological vendors. “No more grasping at straws, but hard facts. How many taxi drivers are there in the USA. We need to know. That’s where our factbook is going to provide useful information.”
With regard to the PASS-Act (criminal checks on taxi- and other drivers, like those using apps to get work), Daus hopes that all IATR’s lobby work will lead to a faster passing of the Act and mandatory checks. “We also want the IATR to become the clearing house for these checks.”
And as far as new initiatives are concerned: “Working with various universities, IATR is working towards a journal in which so many of the really useful publications in our area appear. First on an annual basis, later perhaps more often.” Then Daus promised a ‘boot camp’ for regulators, the development of a university programme for regulators plus a certification programme or driver training. “We will publish a Request for Information for such a programme in order to get standards so that we can enhance training.”
The future? “I don’t know”, the IATR-chief said with unusual modesty. “I do know that regulators must not lose focus. I also know that deregulation is anathema to regulation, so that’s not the solution. It is time to engage in dialogue with all parties. That should be the New Normal. The New World Order for the IATR is good. We are over the hump, the economy is doing better and we are a global and growing organization.”