Ride changes advance, Uber threatens to leave

City regulations and new app ride services continue to clash.

After months, with more debate ahead, a city council committee on Thursday advanced a rewrite of the vehicle-for-hire laws.

The full council will consider them on April 9, and an Uber leader said the firm will leave the city unless more changes are made.

“There are provisions that would not allow us to operate in Kansas City,” said Andy Hung, an Uber general manager.

But he also told the transportation committee that that he still believed something could be worked out.

Councilman Russ Johnson said the committee members have bent over backward to accommodate the new app-based drivers, but “unfortunately the goal line continues to move throughout this whole process.”

Uber would have to pay a $40,000 yearly fee and its drivers a $100 fee to operate. Drivers would also have to have paperwork like a chauffeur license, business license and physical.

Jim Ready, manager of city Regulated Industries, said,  “I think we have stretched this as far as it goes – it’s public safety first when it comes to regulated industries.”

Johnson said a commercial license is needed just to deliver a pizza, yet Uber doesn’t want them for those who deliver people.

“Does that sound insane?” he asked.

Councilwoman Cindy Circo said the city is open to entrepreneurs , “but there is a level of regulation that has to happen.”


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