Proposed city ordinance cracks down on Uber and Lyft
By Christine VanTimmeren
OKLAHOMA CITY — Popular rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft are being challenged by local taxi and limousine companies. A new ordinance was approved by the Oklahoma City Transportation Commission that would place regulations on Uber and Lyft drivers.The ordinance doesn't subject rideshare companies to the same rules as other transportation companies, but taxi companies say it's a step in the right direction."I've been a big fan of their's for a long time and when I heard they were coming to Oklahoma City I thought, ok I might have to do that," said Gene Mendicki.Mendicki is a former charter bus driver. These days he is loving his new gig as a Lyft and Uber driver."I just kept going from one call to the next. I didn't want to quit," he said.Mendicki says he was one of the first drivers for Lyft when it came into town. He's logged more than 300 rides with them alone."I like this concept. I always have," Mendicki said.Customers love it too. Many say the cars are cleaner and the drivers are friendlier."Everybody I talked with that uses it likes it better than taxis and cabs," said Uber user David Glover.Right now, companies like Uber and Lyft are not considered the same as taxis and cabs, and that's something the cab companies want changed. The concerns were brought up at the Transportation Commission meeting Monday at City Hall. Both sides discussed an ordinance that would apply to what the city calls "transportation network vehicles" or TNV's."They operating illegally against the ordinances of the city of Oklahoma City, and the city has failed to this point to enforce the ordinances," said Pam Thompson.Thompson is one of the owners of Yellow Cab of Oklahoma. She says her's and other businesses have suffered at the hands of these companies that don't have to play by the same rules."They're not doing anything we're not doing except they're not having to have the same level of insurance. They get to price surge which gouges the public and we're not allowed to," Thompson said.Under the proposed ordinance TNV's would have to get a certificate/business license, get vehicle inspections and every driver would have to be registered with the city."It's a good start. It's still not fair," Thompson said.Mendicki says he'll comply with any regulations the city imposes, just so long as he can keep doing what he loves."They're great services. A lot of people are using them," he said.The Transportation Commission approved the new ordinance on Monday. It now goes to the City Council. If City Council approves it, companies like Uber and Lyft will have 30 days to respond and agree to the city's terms, or the services will be declared illegal in Oklahoma City.
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