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Council moves forward on new regulations for Uber/Lyft drivers

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TAXI light atop a Thunder Cab. - MARK HANCOCK
  • Mark Hancock
  • TAXI light atop a Thunder Cab.

An ordinance regulating drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft was moved forward by the Oklahoma City council Tuesday with a final vote scheduled for later this month.

After nearly a year of study and months of debate, an ordinance requiring Uber and Lyft drivers to get a $30 permit, a medical physical, background check and vehicle inspection was approved by the council with a vote of 5-2. Councilmen Ed Shadid and John Pettis were the two votes against.

Because an emergency clause failed to receive seven votes the ordinance will require another vote on Oct. 21 and would go into effect 30 days later if approved by a simple majority.

Like many cities across the country, Oklahoma City has been discussing the regulatory requirements for companies that link drivers and riders via a mobile app. Uber and Lyft drivers use their personal cars to transport riders and money is collected through a pre-entered credit card.

Taxi companies have argued that Uber and Lyft have been ignoring the same regulations and laws that govern their industry, offering the new companies an unfair advantage.

The approved ordinance means vehicle inspections, driver permits and background checks would be the same for drivers of taxicabs and Uber or Lyft.

The ordinance also does away with the requirement that cab companies receive approval of fares. It also will allow cab companies to increase fares during peak times, which Uber and Lyft both do.

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