Minneapolis Looks to Regulate 'Uber-X' and 'Lyft' Ride Shares

Updated: 04/29/2014 7:19 AM
Created: 04/28/2014 9:51 PM
By: Jay Kolls

A Minneapolis city council member is introducing a new ordinance that would regulate the popular ride sharing companies "Uber-X" and "Lyft" similar to cab company regulations.

Technology has opened a whole new lane of competition in the world of public transportation. Robert Shipman is a ride share driver. He sees it as an opportunity to carve out a new career because, he says, cabs are falling short in customer service for consumers. "That is what, in large part, has driven them to the ride share route."

All you have to do is download a cellphone application and either "Uber-X", or another company called "Lyft" allows you to find their drivers' locations instantly. And once you set up an account you give them a credit card number and you are charged a fee based on time and distance.

Shipman says the convenience is important, "it's all done automatically. There’s no cash that changes hands. There's no tipping and it's all done electronically."

However, cab companies say "Uber-X" and "Lyft" have an unfair business advantage because the city requires cabs to carry insurance and pay licensing fees.

City leaders see their point.

Minneapolis City Council member Jacob Frey is introducing a new ordinance that would regulate "Uber-X" and "Lyft" similar to cab companies.

Frey says it is an important issue for the public. “When tackling an issue, you cannot shy away from it because it is controversial. And while there are varying, different viewpoints, the most important thing we are doing right now is getting a lot of public engagement and feedback."

That culminates with an expected overflow crowd in the city council chambers Tuesday at 2:30 p.m., with the first public hearing on this issue.

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