Soapbox

Make it easier for service members to become ride-share drivers

A driver puts a Lyft logo on their car. A bill before the Legislature would make it easier for service members stationed in California to become ride-share drivers.
A driver puts a Lyft logo on their car. A bill before the Legislature would make it easier for service members stationed in California to become ride-share drivers. AP

As a proud member of the U.S. Air Force, I know that constant movement is part of the job description. Besides serving in Afghanistan, I have also been stationed in Europe and five different bases across this country, including Washington, South Carolina and now California.

Recently, legislation was introduced by state Sen. Josh Newman – a Fullerton Democrat and a veteran himself – to allow active duty members of the military and their families who have a valid, out-of-state driver's license to drive for Lyft and other ride-sharing services without going through the onerous process of securing a new California license.

Jared Perry.jpg
Jared Perry

This small but important fix in Senate Bill 1080 would make it easier for service members to earn additional income and contribute to the local economy.

My experience moving around the country is not unique. Military families relocate 10 times more often than civilian families – on average every two or three years, with no control over their next posting. California recognizes this sacrifice by not requiring them to secure a driver’s license for what is often a temporary posting. That same courtesy should also extend to service members and their families who want to be ride-share drivers to supplement their incomes, just like people from all other careers.

Opinion

When I first moved to California, I was struggling to make ends meet, but couldn’t find a job with the flexibility to work around my schedule. Ride-share driving is the perfect gig for someone who works odd hours. To top it off, working with Lyft has helped me learn about my new hometown.

Allowing more service members to become ride-share drivers will also increase affordable transportation options to those who live near military bases. And the extra cash the drivers earn will go right back into the local economy.

I hope that legislators from across the state will consider drivers like me and join Newman in supporting it.

Jared Perry is a member of the U.S. Air Force who lives in Vacaville and is stationed at Travis Air Force Base. He can be contacted at jp1994af@gmail.com.

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