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5 Ways Uber Could Change Ride-For-Hire Rules in St. Louis

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Uber
Will St. Louis allow Uber Black? It's up to the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission.
After months of slow negotiations, the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission released proposed rule changes that could pave the way for Uber to open in St. Louis.

While many of the proposed code revisions seem like minor updates -- such as allowing electronic ride tickets as well as written ones -- they'll have an impact on premium sedan ride-for-hire services across the city and county.

In May, Mayor Francis Slay threw his hat into the ring, personally encouraging the taxi authority to adopt alterations proposed by Uber.

St. Louis is the largest U.S. city without Uber, the company tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

See also: County Cab, Yellow Cab App Hits 25,000 Downloads in St. Louis

Here are the proposed changes. If they're accepted, Uber could get the green light to move into the Lou:

Current rule: Premium sedans can be no older than five model years. They cannot join the fleet if they're more than two model years old.
Proposed rule: Premium sedans can be no older than six model years. If they are six model years old or enter service after two model years, drivers must submit the cars to inspections every six months.

Current rule: A driver must stay 2,500 feet away from a hotel or business unless he or she has a written trip ticket.
Proposed rule: A driver must stay 200 feet away from a hotel or business unless he or she has a written or electronic trip ticket.

Current rule: Drivers and passengers must arrange the ride-for-hire at least 60 minutes before pick-up.
Proposed rule: Drivers must be able to prove with an electronic or digital form that they have a prearranged contract with the passengers.

Current rule: Premium sedans parked on hotel or business property must have a written ticket or contract proving a passenger hired the driver for a specific date, time and trip. Drivers must be able to immediately provide the written ticket as proof.
Proposed rule: Premium sedans parked on hotel or business property must have evidence that the passenger hired the driver. That evidence could be a trip ticket, written contract or a digital dispatch on a smartphone or other digital device. The evidence should also include the MTC number of the driver, the CCN holder's identity. Drivers must be able to immediately produce this proof that they were hired for the trip, even if it's in electronic form.

Current rule: When waiting for a passenger, premium sedan drivers must have the name of the passenger displayed prominently in the rear side window of the car, on a sign held by the driver or otherwise determined by the director.
Proposed rule: Drivers don't need a window or hand-held sign if they were digitally dispatched and are able to provide electronic or digital proof of summons.

Even if Uber's proposed changes are adopted by the MTC, they're unlikely to help Lyft, another popular ride-share business looking to move in to the St. Louis market. While Uber approached city officials about opening in St. Louis, Lyft launched its app here without applying to the MTC for licensing. As Uber moves closer to approval, Lyft is fighting against a permanent injunction in a St. Louis circuit court.

See also: 10 Important Sentences from the Judge's Ruling Against Lyft in St. Louis

The services Lyft and Uber are proposing are also different. Uber wants to open its so-called Uber Black service, which dispatches premium sedans at the touch of a smartphone, whereas Lyft and Uber's UberX service match part-time drivers using their personal vehicles with tech-savvy customers looking for rides.

The MTC will likely approve or deny the proposed changes for Uber at its meeting at 11 a.m. on July 22 at 2628 Delmar Boulevard.

Correction: This article previously misstated the time of Tuesday's MTC meeting. It is at 11 a.m.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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5 comments
David Goldstick
David Goldstick

The Metropolitan Taxicab Commission (MTC) will vote on code changes tomorrow, July 22nd at 10am that include harmful regulations, such as requiring a minimum fare of $25 for all Black Car trips. St. Louis is the largest city in the U.S. that does not provide residents and visitors access to transportation options such as Uber. Imposing fare minimums and other protectionist regulations driven by the taxi industry are the reason why. Uber has been working with the MTC for months to help craft regulations that encourage safety, consumer choice, competition, and innovation. A few outdated regulations are being addressed, however, the MTC is proposing additional regulations that are protectionist in nature and will further prevent us from operating. These anti-competitive regulations, including a $25 minimum fare for UberBLACK, will be voted on tomorrow. Tell your MTC Commissioners not to impose any regulations that will limit transportation options in St. Louis.

lizmillerxc
lizmillerxc

Go to http://www.lyftvsuber.com/ to try out Uber or Lyft for yourself! The website compares the two most popular ride-sharing services. $30, $25 of FREE ride credit for new passengers and up to $500 sign-up BONUS for new drivers!! Drivers can make as much as $40/hr! Hope you can see what all the hype is about :) Thanks!!


Shawn Cortner Sensel
Shawn Cortner Sensel

Uber must be very optimistic because I saw they posted on craigslist seeking ppl to hire in stl.

samuel.roby
samuel.roby

Of course, ride-sharing is a fraudulent business model. Not only does it not pay for any municipal business permits while operating their supposedly "business taxi dispatch", they also cut corners on local taxes, on commercial insurance (and no, that gap policy that they offer doesn't cover all that needs to be covered), etc. It is a criminal enterprise that creates unfair, unethical and unlawful business environment. If they want to compete - they need to play by the rules and laws, same ones that thousands of small transportation businesses abide by daily.

Alex Francis
Alex Francis

The city and county always have had so much money tied into the taxi companies that they will try and stop Uber.

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