Legislature Looks for Uber’s Return to Kansas
May 19, 2015

(AP) – The Kansas Senate has approved a compromise on regulations that ride-hailing company Uber says will allow it to stay in the state.
The Senate passed the legislation 37-0 on Tuesday after the House approved it 119-3 earlier in the day.
Uber announced in early May that it had ceased operations in Kansas after the Legislature overrode the governor’s veto on regulations the company opposed.
Under the new measure, Uber and other ride-hailing companies could do private background checks on their subcontracted drivers under the bill. But they could face lawsuits from the attorney general if drivers were found to be operating with a criminal background.
The compromise will now go to the governor. Republican Sen. Jeff Longbine says he believes the governor will sign it.

Lamers ‘Uber Rides’ Brownback
May 5, 2015

(AP) – The Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature has overridden GOP Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of a bill imposing new regulations on ride-hailing companies like Uber.
The Senate’s vote Tuesday was 34-5 while the House voted 96-25, comfortably surpassing the two-thirds majority needed.
The measure would require drivers for ride-hailing companies to undergo state background checks. They’d also need additional auto insurance coverage beyond the $1 million Uber offers when drivers are logged into its network or transporting passengers.
Uber connects drivers to riders through a mobile app. It was operating in Wichita and the Kansas City area and expanded after Brownback’s veto.
“Over-regulation of businesses discourages investment and harms the open and free marketplace. Uber, and other innovative businesses, should be encouraged to operate, grow and create jobs here in Kansas,” the Governor said.
The company put a popup on its app for Kansas users after the Senate vote saying, “KANSAS JUST SHUT DOWN UBER” and, “Effective immediately, Uber can no longer operate in KS.”

Uber Plans Kansas Expansion
April 23, 2015

AP) – Ride-hailing company Uber says it is bringing its service to four additional cities in Kansas only days after Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed legislation opposed by the firm.
Uber spokeswoman Lauren Altmin said in an email that riders in Lawrence, Leavenworth, Manhattan and Topeka could begin hailing Uber drivers Wednesday afternoon. The company already offers service in Wichita, Kansas City, Kansas, and Johnson County.
Uber connects drivers to riders through a mobile app and entered the state in 2014.
Legislators approved a bill this month to require state background checks and broader insurance coverage for drivers for ride-hailing companies.
Uber called the measure overly burdensome and said its enactment would force the company out of Kansas. Brownback vetoed the measure Monday, saying it could stifle innovation in the state.

Brownback Vetoes Taxi Restriction Bill
April 20, 2015

(AP) – Gov. Sam Brownback has vetoed a bill that would have increased regulations on ride-hailing companies like Uber.

Brownback announced his decision in a statement Monday, saying the bill was “premature” and might stifle growth.

The bill would require some drivers for Uber and other ride-hailing companies to provide proof of broader insurance and undergo state background checks. Uber connects drivers to riders through a mobile app and lobbied fiercely against the bill, saying its passage would have forced the company to leave the state.

The bill passed with large majorities in both chambers and Republican Rep. Scott Schwab from Olathe said the Legislature would attempt to override the governor’s veto. This would require 84 votes in the 125-seat House and 27 votes in the 40-seat Senate.

KC Making Room for Uber and Lyft Driver Services, but Major Issue Remains Unresolved
February 6, 2015

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.