Minneapolis to consider Lyft and Uber ordinance

Taylor Nachtigal

Minneapolis will likely consider an ordinace that would provide clarification about the legality of ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber at a City Council meeting next week, according to City Pages.

These ridesharing or "transportation network companies" connect users to a chauffer through a mobile app. As the service has gained popularity, legal issues including a lack of regulation by city ordinances, gaps in insurance coverage and conflicts with established taxi services have met the companies. 

Becuase chauffers use their personal vehicle to transport passengers a main concern raised by Minneapolis City Council members has been about gaps in insurance coverage.

Jacob Frey, Minneapolis City Council member, has been a proponent of the TNC services and is attempting to help regulate them through the creation of a new city ordinance.

The proposed ordinance would help regulate whether drivers are covered by personal or commerical insurance while servicing riders. 

"We are making sure that the businesses' primary insurance will provide coverage at all times from the click of teh app being turned on to the dropping off of the customer," Frey told City Pages. "We Know that the individuals' insurance will cover all claims when the app is not on and they're just driving to the store to get bread. What we're working on right now is the in-between time."

The Minnesota Department of Commerce chimed in on the issue to caution drivers to verify coverage with their insurers before becoming a driver.

"There may be gaps in auto insurance coverage for both the drivers and passengers using TNCs. There may not be coverage for an accident because most personal auto insurance policies contain exclusions whne drivers use their personal cars for a commercial (business) purpose," the Commerce Department said in a statement. 

Additionally, the Commerce Department cautioned potential riders as some insurance companies may not cover passengers under some policies for this type of service. 

The proposed ordinance will likely be voted on at the June 3 City Council meeting.