Despite Commerce Department warning, Jacob Frey says Uber/Lyft ordinance still on its way
"I don't think there has been an entirely successful regulatory tool that any other city has used," he says. "We're looking at being the first to do this properly -- one, by ensuring safety, but two, by allowing new and innovative businesses to operate and thrive to the fullest extent. It's a great business model, and for us to shut our doors by strangling it with regulation would be dumb, but at the same time it's our job to ensure public safety and a big part of that is making sure that insurance is up to speed and complete."
"We want to put together an ordinance that is good not just for two or three ride-sharing companies," Frey continues. "We want this to be an acceptable ordinance long-term so it accommodates new and different business models, because every company is going to do things slightly different."
Frey says his ordinance should come before a City Council committee on June 3. If it's approved there, it'll go before the full council during its next regularly scheduled meeting.
The plan now is for the council to simultaneously consider two ordinances -- a new one pertaining just to TNCs, along with revisions to the city's existing taxi ordinance.
"From what I'm seeing, the taxi cab industry wants just one ordinance," Frey says. "That's what they're arguing for and just to put it bluntly I don't see that as an option. It is a different kind of business, and as our transportation network expands, as new innovation comes to the city, we have to be willing to think outside the box."
But Frey doesn't think having separate ordinances for TNCs and taxis is a problem.
"There's a difference between fairness and equity," Frey says. "There are parts of the taxi ordinance that in some ways would be more favorable [to the taxi business]. They're different business models and to treat it exactly the same would not be beneficial to either one. There are a few modifications that I think will help the taxi cab industry provide better service that they will appreciate."
Frey also reiterated his belief that it's about time the taxi industry was spurred to evolve.
"Competition is a good thing," he says. "I think the whole model needs a facelift and this is a swift kick in the pants to do so."
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