Should Minneapolis legalize car “ride share” programs?

A Lyft customer gets into a car in San Francisco, California. The cars are identified by their pink mustaches. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

“A Minneapolis City Council panel on Tuesday approved changes to regulations governing ride-share services like UberX and Lyft,” writes MPR News reporter Peter Cox.

New language would add city oversight to the fast-growing but largely unregulated ride-sharing industry. The panel also voted to ease city rules on taxis.

The proposed changes will go to the full Minneapolis City Council for a possible vote next week.

So-called “ride share” smartphone apps like Lyft and Uber connect car owners with people looking for rides. Though they’re operating in Minneapolis, they don’t have the authority to do so.

Cox continues:

The ordinance amendments would let taxi companies use older cabs, allow cab drivers to park at city meters and reduce annual vehicle inspections from two to one.

The ride-share services, also, known as transportation network companies, would pay an annual license fee of $35,000 as well as a $10,000 wheelchair surcharge.

That money would help the city offer incentives and waivers to cab companies with wheelchair accessible vehicles. Taxi operators would have to pay $20 per vehicle as a wheelchair surcharge.

While cab companies and drivers said they were happy with the changes, they argued that the ordinances essentially give separate sets of rules to companies working in the same industry.

Today’s Question: Should Minneapolis legalize car “ride share” programs?

  • bob hicks

    Brilliant answer to the ride share dilemma: let the cab companies operate with aging infrastructure that then gets inspected for safety only half as often as it should. Homer Simpson would be proud.

  • PaulJ

    The cab industry seems sleazy enough without getting the internet involved.

  • yes! Yes! YES! What could possibly go wrong?

  • Joe

    Hitchhiking should also be legal. Also, paying in sexual services. What could go wrong?

  • reggie

    We should be completely open to new business models, as long as they meet basic safety standards, comply with applicable regulations, and pay the business taxes owed. We should not tolerate “sharing economy” services that pay no taxes but make use of public infrastructure or operate outside the safety and regulatory protections with which existing businesses comply.

    The only way to lower taxes for those people and organizations who currently pay is to expand the number of people and businesses who do so. Somehow the “sharing economy” doesn’t seem to want to “share” that burden.

    • Jamie

      Where’s the line between carpooling and the “sharing economy”?

      • reggie

        Does money change hands? If so, it’s a business. If not, it’s a carpool. It’s not that hard to tell the difference.

        • Jeff

          Doesn’t money change hands every time you and your friends go on a road trip to pay for gas? That’s a business now?

          • reggie

            Jeff, you need to read first, take a breath and think, and then post. See the thread immediately above (which you contributed to), which addressed this exact, stupid question.

      • JQP

        Tell the “sharing economy” guy who drives you to the airport from downtown that you will ONLY pay 50% of the cost of the gas for the ride you just took. and maybe a tip.

  • Jamie

    A $45,000 license for what?

    • reggie

      High license fees are a tool restrict entry to the market and protect incumbents. Let’s lower the license fee to something reasonable, and apply it to everyone who uses a motor vehicle to transport passengers for a fee. (If you ride in a 4-person carpool and buy every fourth tank of gas, that’s not generating income for the car owner, so it’s not a business.)

      • Jeff

        So the high license fee is to protect the market from being flooded with more efficient, cheaper alternatives…government protectionism at its best!

        • reggie

          The main driver behind such laws are the incumbents who lobby for the protections, not “government.” You seem to think the government is the problem, but it is — as the SCOTUS has been consistently asserting — merely a tool that businesses use to advance their interests. And those interests are rarely “our” interests.

  • Mar Kus

    welcome to a wild west economy-how about background checks, insurance and vehicle safety?

  • JQP

    Require the car service company to verify that everyone of its ride-providershas valid commercial drivers insurance. Your personal driving insurance does not cover driving someone else around. If there is an accident .. .the $1,000,000 umbrella policy from the app-company ( Lyft etal.) doesn’t apply if the drivers underlying insurance ( personal auto) is not valid.

  • Dick from Gaylord

    Fuck yeah.

  • Jeff

    Yes, yes, yes…this is capitalism, no more special interests determining our laws…this is not a liberal vs conservative issue this is a free market issue.