Find a place for ride-share apps

The City Council should find a solution that would allow UberX and Lyft to operate legally.

Two new ride-sharing apps allow Twin Cities residents to get around using their smartphone, but city ordinances bar these ride-share companies from operating legally. Minneapolis should move forward with efforts to allow ride-share companies Lyft and UberX.

With UberX and Lyft, passengers may organize rides, split fares or request specific cars — all with the tap of a touch screen on their smartphones. But there is growing controversy among city officials as well as traditional cab drivers over how the city should regulate these companies. Because the apps border the line between chauffeur service and taxi service, cities nationwide have been slow to pass reform.

The Minneapolis City Council is considering new regulations for these ride-share services. The Star Tribune reported last week that the proposed regulations would require companies, rather than vehicles, to be licensed. Companies would be responsible for performing background checks and vehicle inspections and meeting city specifications. The city checks traditional taxicabs.

Some taxi drivers feel that the regulations on ride-share services are unfairly lenient and are concerned that cabs will lose business as more people get smartphones. The city should balance these concerns with industry progress and convenience.

Ward 3 Councilman Jacob Frey, who represents neighborhoods around the University of Minnesota, is sponsoring these new regulations. We support the efforts of Frey and regulators to find a fair, swift solution to the debacle so that these companies can operate legally in Minneapolis.