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Oklahoma City traffic commission approves regulating app-based ride services

Proposed ordinance updates to regulate vehicles for hire will advance to the Oklahoma City Council.
by William Crum Modified: July 21, 2014 at 11:31 pm •  Published: July 22, 2014

Oklahoma City’s Traffic and Transportation Commission on Monday approved new regulations for Uber, Lyft and other app-based ride services.

The vote was 7-0.

The proposed update of the city’s “vehicle-for-hire” ordinances now goes to the city council, where it will be reviewed at least three times before changes are made.

Uber moved into Oklahoma City with its uberX service last fall, and Lyft arrived in the spring.

The services contract with individuals, who agree to use their private vehicles to give rides, much like taxis.

Riders arrange the rides and pay with a smartphone app; in Uber’s case, it retains a percentage of the fare.

The services are part of the growing, Internet-centric “sharing economy” that includes apps for arranging overnight stays in private homes and finding parking when spaces are tight.

Highly regulated traditional taxi and limousine companies have said it’s only fair for the city to regulate the app-based services. So far, those services have operated outside rules governing driver background checks, vehicle safety inspections, and insurance coverage.

In recognition of the business model, the proposed regulations would create a new class of service provided by “transportation network companies” and “transportation network vehicles.” Existing regulations cover services including taxis, limousines and carriages.

The regulations would require that:

Vehicles providing app-based services be inspected for safety by the city.

The vehicles display “trade dress” for identification purposes, similar to the way a taxi has distinctive colors.

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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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