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Columbus Poised To Regulate Rideshare Operators

Columbus City Council is expected to vote next month on newly crafted regulations governing Uber, Lyft and other app-based transportation services. The services allow people to download a smartphone app to find drivers of personal vehicles who have signed into the network and book a ride. People must register a credit card through the app, which charges riders at the end of the trip. The city sued Uber and Lyft to stop them from operating while officials finished drafting the regulations, but a Franklin County judge denied a request for a temporary restraining order. The regulations require the companies to have primary insurance coverage for drivers on top of the drivers' personal policies. Assistant Columbus Safety Director Amanda Ford says they also require companies to pay a 15 thousand dollar a year vehicle licensing fee, instead of the 225 dollar per vehicle fee taxi cab companies pay.

Insurance has been a sticking point, with the companies saying their coverage goes beyond that of taxis. But the city hired a insurance-rating firm that said gaps could exist if primary insurance is not required. Sponsoring Council member Zach Klein says the insurance requirements are tailored to how the services operate.


But taxi cab drivers and companies say the regulations create an unlevel playing field. Here are Dan Ullman, claims manager for the Independent Taxicab Association of Columbus, and David Herring, a driver with ACME Cab.


They are two of the more than a dozen people who spoke at a public hearing on the regulations yesterday. Lyft spokesperson Jim Black and part-time driver and independent businesswoman Karen Manross say the regulations go too far, and could price companies and drivers out of the business.


The city says the regulations will be reviewed in six months to determine what, if any, changes need to be made. Columbus is one of several U.S. cities trying to figure out how to regulate the new businesses, and officials say no other municipality has legislation on the books that could be used as an effective model.



Jim has been with WCBE since 1996. Before that he worked as a reporter at another Columbus radio station, and for three newspapers in Southwest Florida.
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