City develops regulations for Lyft

by Tyler Gieseke

Lyft and UberX connect riders and drivers through a mobile app, essentially providing a citizen chauffeur service. The companies are currently operating illegally in Minneapolis, since standing city code requires that their drivers purchase taxicab licenses, the Pioneer Press reported. Now, city leaders are working to legalize the services.

The proposed regulations, which were presented to the Community Development and Regulatory Services Committee on Tuesday, would require a ridesharing company to purchase a city license, rather than individual drivers and vehicles, according to a presentation to the committee.

But taxicabs are each required to purchase a license, arrangements which drivers say would give an unfair advantage to ridesharing companies, the Star Tribune reported. 

“It’s unfair to them,” Ward 6 Councilman Abdi Warsame told the Star Tribune. “Because they have to get licenses, they have to get inspections, and these operations don’t have to do that.”

Under the current plans presented to the committee, ridesharing companies would be responsible for conducting vehicle inspections and driver background checks, according to the presentation.

A public hearing is scheduled for April 28, and the committee isn’t expected to vote on the proposed regulations until May, the Star Tribune reported.

“Within two weeks it’s going to escalate,” Rainbow Taxi owner Zach Williams told the Star Tribune while he was standing in City Hall. “You’re going to have a much bigger crowd out here two weeks from now.”