KC Making Room for Uber and Lyft Driver Services, but Major Issue Remains Unresolved

City Hall started moving towards authorizing alternative driver for hire services like Uber and Lyft in Kansas City.
THURSDAY City Manager Troy Schulte presented a wide ranging set of changes to the city’s taxi cab ordinance.
The proposal even changes the name ‘taxi’ from the ordinance title.
Recently the “transportation network companies” ( TNC), like Uber and Lyft have entered the Kansas City market.
Potential customers use an application on their cell phones to order service from one place to the next
Payment is often also made electronically.
The costs are usually lower than conventional cab fare.
The cab companies, however, says the TNCs have not had to meet the same commercial requirements as a conventional cab companies
Amoung the changes:
The permit fee drops from $300 to $250, in an effort to make it more affordable for some of the many part time drivers used by Uber and Lyft.
TNC drivers must pass a third-party background check, or the city’s background check.
The TNC vehicles must carry commercial insurance.
“What this ordinance does is we recognize you as all being the same. Here are the rules. That’s all we’ve asked for in this whole process,” said Bill GEORGE of the Yellow Cab Company, the city’s biggest cab operator.
The proposal is the starting point for more talks.
“I think we’ve got a ways to go to find something purpose-built for TNC’s, but definitely encouraged with the progress so far,” added Andy Hung of Uber Kansas City.
The proposal did not deal with one major problem in the eyes of some cab companies; the exclusive contracts some hotels and other busy cab locations have with Yellow Cab.
Some of those say those exclusive deals are choking off business for smaller cab companies.
Lora McDonald of the civil rights group ‘More2’, says those smaller firms and other may boycott those businesses until the exclusive contracts are dropped.
” As much as we wanted to avoid pulling our money out of our city, we have a greater belief in racial and economic justice that governs this decision,” she said in a statement.
Schulte says the city left the exclusive contract issue out of the proposed ordinance. he says they are still working on the issue.
A city attorney, however, expressed doubts the city could regulate an arrange,net between two private parties like a cab companies and another private business.

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