Uber Says Council Decision Brings Them One Step Closer To Leaving Kansas City
The Kansas City council committee for transportation and infrastructure unanimously passed a controversial ride-hiring ordinance Thursday.
Ride-hiring company Uber has said if the ordinance is adopted it will force them to suspend services in Kansas City.
Revisions to the ordinance decreased the vehicle permit cost for TNC (transportation network company) drivers from the already lowered $150 fee to $100 as long as the company pays a $40,000 base fee. TNC drivers will also have to pass a physical, complete exams, and acquire a business license and a chauffeur's license at their own expense.
Uber driver Tracy Ludeman testified that she completed the licensing process that the ordinance will require last summer. She describes the process as an "odyssey" that cost her almost $400.
"This is a real burden for people driving on the Uber system only part-time, and I understand that most cities don't require these steps," said Ludeman.
Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Circo said the fees take the administrative costs off the taxpayer. At Circo's suggestion, thecommittee also added language to reevaluate the effectiveness of the ordinance after one year.
Uber's general manager for Kansas City, Andy Hung, said that the individual licensing process is still too burdensome to TNC drivers.
“If the draft ordinance passes unchanged from today we will not be able to continue operating in Kansas City," said Hung.
Before the final vote, Councilman Russ Johnson expressed disappointment in Uber's attempts to continually push the "goal line" further back. He pointed out that under Missouri state law you have to obtain a commercial license to deliver pizza.
"If we're going to regulate how we deliver a pizza, I think we should probably regulate how we deliver a person," said Johnson.
The ordinance could go to the full council for approval next week.
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