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Lyft opposes ordinance provisions

by William Crum Modified: August 4, 2014 at 12:25 pm •  Published: August 4, 2014

“Places a burden.”

“Unnecessary and burdensome.”

Those are some of the ways Lyft is characterizing regulations proposed for the app-based ride services competing with taxis and limousines in Oklahoma City.

The city council got its first look at the proposals last week; a public hearing is set Aug. 26 and the rules could be adopted as soon as Sept. 9.

Lobbyist Brett Robinson, of Capital City Associates, is circulating Lyft’s analysis to city council members.

It singles out requirements that drivers — many of whom work part time to earn extra cash — be required to get permits, have their cars inspected, report accidents, and keep records of rides and riders.

City officials say the regulations are intended to protect public safety. In some respects, they mimic standards for taxi and limo drivers, while they differ in an effort to adapt to the way Lyft and another service, Uber, rely on smartphones to arrange rides.

Included are requirements for insurance coverage and criminal background checks.

Drivers unable to give a ride to someone who is disabled would be required to help that person find a ride, a requirement that Lyft says holds a driver “responsible for a situation outside of their control.”

Lyft and Uber use smartphone apps to connect drivers in their personal vehicles to individuals looking for rides.

Riders pay with a credit card. Lyft and Uber handle the financial transaction, keep a percentage of the fare, and send drivers the balance.

Uber began offering rides in Oklahoma City last October, while Lyft arrived in April.

Both services are based in San Francisco, and have rolled out their popular services in cities across the nation.

Robinson formerly worked for the city as a lobbyist under a contract that ran from late 2009 to April 2013, said Jane Abraham, who oversees the city’s legislative agenda from her post in the city manager’s office.

by William Crum
OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman.
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