City leaders want regulations in place for app-driven ride servi - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

City leaders want regulations in place for app-driven ride services

Chris Roberts (Source: WAVE 3 News) Chris Roberts (Source: WAVE 3 News)
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - You've probably seen them around town - vehicles with pink mustaches that offer people a ride for a fee. The vehicles are part of an app-driven ride service offered in Louisville called Lyft.

Lyft isn't the only service of its kind operating in the city. Uber also allows people to request rides right from their phone.

But now both companies they are under fire from city leaders and cabs services who want more oversight for the app-driven ride sharing companies.

Wednesday night the issue was addressed in front of the Louisville Metro Council.

"Can we regulate the service they are offering?" Councilman Kevin Kramer asked during the session.

"It's about a level playing field and about public safety," Councilwoman Madonna Flood said.

Lyft and Uber say they are providing a different kind of service, one that helps save lives when people leave bars and are too drunk to drive.

City leaders want to make sure the companies are background checking drivers, inspecting vehicles and paying taxes. Lyft and Uber say they already do those things.

Chris Roberts works full time in IT, but in his off time he picks up extra cash as a driver for Lyft. He said as a driver he often picks up riders too drunk to drive.

"I get out on the weekends and try to keep the streets safe number one and try to make a little extra money number two," he said.

How much money a drivers for Lyft makes varies depending on the shift, but on a weekend some make more than $200.

Roberts said he is also in charge of the car inspections and interviewing new drivers.

He says ride sharing companies aren't taxis. "Lyft is not a transportation company and therefore cannot be regulated as such. They're a transportation broker,” he said.

That's exactly the argument that taxi services are disputing.

"We pick them at where they are at, we take them to a destination and they pay us money. We do that, Uber does that, Lyft does that," said Steve Coston, the president of the company that owns Yellow Cab in Louisville and Lexington.

The fight has gone all the way to Frankfort, and it may be months before the state makes a call on whether the city can regulate the companies or not, leaving cab companies crying foul.

"We can go down and show you that the oversight has been conducted, we've checked all the boxes and we've done all that. They can't," Coston said.

Both Lyft and Uber provide drivers with liability insurance that covers claims up to $1 million while they are providing rides through the services.

President Barack Obama's former campaign manager has just signed up to lobby for Uber, challenging current transportation laws.

Copyright 2014 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

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