Mpls cab companies not thrilled about impending Lyft/UberX ordinance

LyftFreyFeat.jpg
Frey on Lyft and UberX: "I think the taxi industry needed some competition."
This week, the Minneapolis City Council Transportation and Public Works Committee will get its first crack at the city's revised taxi regulations and its brand-new "Transportation Network Companies" ordinance. If they approve it, it'll head to the full council for consideration during next week's meeting.

But the author of the TNC ordinance, council member Jacob Frey, acknowledges that even as the city plans to get serious about regulating TNCs and deregulating cabs, "I don't know I can say [taxi companies] are on board with the ordinance at this point."

See also:
St. Paul also plans to regulate Lyft, UberX

"But I think we're making headway," Frey told us last week. "The goal was to create a regulatory framework that would allow TNCs to thrive, and then there were some pieces of the taxi ordinance that we're going to deregulate."

Among them, according to a draft of council member Abdi Warsame's revised taxi ordinance (read a draft of it here), are changes pertaining to the permissible age of cabs (the ordinance would allow cabs to be up to 10 years old, up from five), eliminating language that bars drivers from picking up additional passengers during a fare, broadening the number of facilities at which cabs can be inspected, and allowing cab drivers to use taxis as private vehicles.

But the Star Tribune's Eric Roper reports that the changes don't totally satisfy cab companies, who remain concerned about Lyft and UberX's flexible "surge pricing."

"The complete absence of the city's knowledge about or oversight on TNC fares raise serious concerns that the TNC model is quite simply one where technology is used to sell rides to the highest bidders, and to de facto refuse rides to lower-fare passengers," Noah Rouen, a spokesman for a coalition of taxi companies, wrote in an email to Roper.

Will cab companies' objections be enough to persuade council members to take another look at the taxi ordinance revisions/TNC regulations before approving them? We'll find out during this two-week cycle of city meetings.

To read a draft of Frey's TNC ordinance, click to page two.



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58 comments
Michael Mitchell
Michael Mitchell

Last cab I took was terrible. Got in from 18 hours of layovers and jet lag. The cabbie stated the price even as the meter didn't start until half way to home. Wanted $65 to get me home, and wouldn't cash me out from $80 so I could tip her. And that is how you get a $1 tip arguing with your customer. They need competition and someone else at the feeding bowl

Michael Mitchell
Michael Mitchell

All I hear these days is that the gov'ment is taking ppls right to Bear Arms, and is anti capitalistic. I like this idea of competition from a lazy industry. I can't seem to hail a cab after 9:30 in Minneapolis without white friends around. With this competition sounds like I'm getting a ride.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter


ever think about exploiting them as they are immigrants desperate for cash...


i set my own fare anytime i take a cab, if they refuse tell them "some other skinny will take my money" and ride away at the price you set


you fucking drunk sycophants 

John Danielson
John Danielson

Lana Diamond that simply isn't true. A driver cannot access the app on the customers phone in order to modify or give themselves a certain tip. Plus the driver does not set the rate the company itself does. Variation go into the rate like time, distance, driver availability. If there are less drivers and more demand the drivers make more plus they have peak time and peak days in which rates may be higher or lower.

John Quast
John Quast

In other news: Taco Bell not thrilled by ordinances that allow Chipotle and Qdoba to exist.

Todd C. Scott
Todd C. Scott

Chris - your pizza boy is a great example of the problem, because that's how Uber &Lyft are treating the situation -- like their drivers should be insured no more than the pizza boy who works part time evenings. People who pick up and give people rides for a living have significantly more risk exposure of being involved in an accident since they are on the road so often, AND the cost of their accidents are significantly more expensive, since they are carrying around people, not pizzas -- which is why cab drivers are required to have commercial liability insurance. All I'm saying is that these companies should be insured at the rate of cabs and taxis. It's for the safety of the public. I don't think you understood my argument about cyclists and pedestrians... my point is that the lack of insurance on an Uber or Lyft vehicle can affect you even if you've never been a passenger. If I'm cycling up Lake street and get hit by an insured motorist, at least there will be $$ to pay my medical bills. If an Uber car hits me while I'm cycling, and the driver is on his way to pick up a rider, the insurer may deny coverage for my bills since he was using his personal vehicle for a commercial purpose. The lack of insurance by Uber driver is what happened in this San Francisco case: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Family-of-SF-girl-killed-by-Uber-driver-backs-5579980.php

Nathan Julsrud
Nathan Julsrud

If you are going to make a bold claim and call something racist you should better have proof, before you paint an entity publicly.

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

Freedom of choice!

Time to be freed from the oligopoly of cab companies.

There is nothing to stop cab companies from developing their own app and pursuing this business model as well.

O.g. Ikee
O.g. Ikee

I don't give a damn that the cab companies are suffering, to bad for them.

O.g. Ikee
O.g. Ikee

Point cause they will take you around the block just to take you across the streets.

O.g. Ikee
O.g. Ikee

You know if the cab drivers weren't such idiots and rip off artist and fair, but they drive extra slow take you the longest route possible, not to mention they are very discriminatory, I don't know that Uber & Lyft is the answer but the taxi system today is very much broken.

Chris Early
Chris Early

Todd, I see your point about some insurance co's refusing to pay claims because these vehicles are used commercially. I hadn't thought about this. But even the pizza boy has to have full coverage to drive for Domino's. Is there a legal difference? As for bikers and pedestrians being somehow more endangered by Uber/Lyft drivers being under-insured than regular cabs or drivers, I'm not certain I agree. We do regulate all drivers to carry at least liability insurance, yet some do not. They face jail &/or loss of their driving privileges if caught-- however even police enforcement does not guarantee they will carry it. I don't see that as a valid argument against Uber/Lyft, as you are equally liable to be struck by an uninsured vehicle that isn't carrying Uber/Lyft passengers than one that is. Matthew, I feel my statement "we ride at our own peril" did address the warning in Todd's post saying the same thing. It was not intended as a blanket statement, which is why I made other points in response to other things he said. Sorry if this was unclear but I used plain English. As far as where tax revenue comes from and where it is used, I would agree it must be getting used somewhere. Perhaps by the gov't dept which monitors taxis? This has nothing to do with Uber or Lyft. If taxis aren't paying in enough for their own governance, or if these services render taxis and their regulatory agencies obsolete, maybe that branch of gov't doesn't require so much funding. Maybe we shouldn't consider tax revenue as granted and let the market for taxis decide how much tax it generates for the city to use, rather than assuming because $1M in taxes is currently generated, it is somehow a given that this amount is written in stone. If this industry no longer does enough business to generate a certain level of taxation, the city is not "losing" money. This money is not the city's to lose.

Shawn Taylor
Shawn Taylor

Do you know that in other markets you can use the uber service to get an actual cab?? The appeal to uber is that they have options. Want a black car (think lincoln town car type limo) you can get that, want an suv to haul your stuff, you can get that. Want a limo to take you from point a to point b and don't want to pay $100+ an hour, you can get that too. Not all options are available in our market, but they are in others. I spent some time in an uberx (standard black car) going from downtown Chicago to Ohare airport. I discussed uber with the driver the entire way. Did you know that in Chicago the majority or taxi drivers don't own their cabs. They pay a weekly rate to rent them. If you want to own your own cab you must pay $300,000 for a medallion to do business, and yes that wasn't a type-o three hundred thousand dollars. Uber sets it's own rules on how old your car can be, which I believe lets them be older than 5 years old, but not quite 10. My experience with Uber was great, and I would use them again if I was somewhere where I needed car service. Taxi companies just need to move on with the times and adjust. If that means update their systems to be able to track and pay like Uber does than that may be a start. Because you know what piece of high tech equipment these uber drivers have installed in their cars??? An iPhone!! That is it!

Matthew Hunt
Matthew Hunt

The government should not get to decide which businesses thrive. People have a right to choose the service they want, whether it be Lyft, UberX, or cabs. If these new services hurt the cab companies, maybe it's time for them to go the way of the payphone.

Shawn Taylor
Shawn Taylor

Lana Diamond, the driver doesnt have access to your card. It is all done through your cell phone. And as for the tip, it is included in the fare. I tried to give a tip with my ride and wasnt able to. I contacted User and they told me it was included.

Lana Diamond
Lana Diamond

Uber taxi driver ripped of my cousin a couple of times, charging her 30$ just to go downtown from Uptown and also the same driver put a 25$ tip for himself on her card the second trip. She didn't complain but she will never use them again.

Lily Ann
Lily Ann

YES THEY ARE CLEANER. And if it's insurance or lack thereof that has you spooked, you just don't USE THEM YOURSELF.

Lily Ann
Lily Ann

No society is going to stop using a more convenient way of doing things that saves them money because the old way of doing things has people involved that refuse to EVolve.

Fiery Lionheart
Fiery Lionheart

I swear by Uber! Cleaner, friendlier, more user-friendly, more accountable! Also that I have the driver name, photo, and number at my fingertips in case I lose my phone or wallet in their car is awesome. No longer do I have to call some office number and hope they call me back with their lost and found items. And I gladly pay the surcharge/higher demand rate so I don't have to try to flag down someone who will ignore me or drive right past me!

Patrick Pierson
Patrick Pierson

NY amongst other cities seem to get by just fine with it. The transaction fumbling is so unnecessary.

Matthew Martin
Matthew Martin

Right, but each time you run a credit card, there is a transaction fee. Think of it like a small business that has a $5-10 minimum for purchases with cards, it's to cover the fee.

Matthew Martin
Matthew Martin

Chris, it's blanket statements like "we ride at our own peril" that don't really address the facts that Todd laid out. The fact is that we have a driver and a vehicle that act like another, but they currently do not have the same guidelines. When you mention tax revenue, remember that that money is being spent somewhere. If the city loses too much revenue, they may feel compelled to raise taxes (something you don't want) or create a new(er) tax (something you don't want). Make the playing field more level.

Nuevo Andrewismo
Nuevo Andrewismo

Maybe cab companies should worry a little more about their cab drivers knowing where the hell they are going. It hugely sucks having to pay a guy who you had to give directions to the whole way.

Sheldon Casper
Sheldon Casper

Good riddance to rude law breaking drivers and stinking cabs

Todd C. Scott
Todd C. Scott

I don't doubt the Lyft/Uber cars you've ridden in are cleaner than your basic cab. however, the insurance thing is a deal breaker for me. I'll choose the dirty Crown Vic cab over the Prius from Lyft or Uber until they require full time commercial insurance. And if you are a biker, or spend time around busy neighborhoods like Uptown or Downtown, you should want them to have the proper insurance too. There are many cases where these drivers are significantly under-insured because of the lax requirement from Lyft and Uber. These drivers are treated like independent contractors and the insurance they carry varies quite a bit depending on whether they have a client in the vehicle or not. One thing is for sure, it is the driver's personal policy that is the primary insurer if they flatten you while driving their Uber car. That insurance is often not enough, and some insurers will deny payment when they find out the driver was involved in a commercial enterprise. That's bad for the public so I won't support it.

Kim Connell
Kim Connell

So the taxis are complaining because Uber and Lyft don't have commercial insurance coverage (which is a TOTALLY legitimate complaint) -- but then they want to be able to use their commercial taxis as personal vehicles? HA! They want to have their cake and eat it too! And there comes into play the same type of insurance gaps.... If they are using the taxi for personal use and run somebody over-- will the commercial insurance deny coverage because they were operating the vehicle for personal use?? I think Uber & Lyft need to be held accountable, as they are - by definition - engaging in commercial use of the vehicles and should be insured as such... But I LOVE Uber & Lyft and use them over a cab ANY DAY!

Chris Early
Chris Early

Of course we ride at our own peril, Todd. And we cross the street at our own peril, shop at thrift stores at our own peril, order hot coffee at our own peril. Maybe inspection fees paid to the city are a better idea than Lyft/Uber's policies regarding the cleanliness and functionality of their "fleet." But if you ask me, the Lyft/Uber cars I've ridden in are much nicer and cleaner than Mpls taxis. So perhaps that $1M isn't buying much gov't oversight after all. Also I seem to recall a note in Lyft's policies which states they background check their drivers too. And obviously these drivers are all required to carry full coverage insurance to even apply to drive for both co's. So except for your complaint about the lost tax revenue for the city (lower taxes being , to some of us anyway, a positive thing), I'm not certain what it is we are risking, other than the daily gamble of life on earth. Please advise.

Chad Larson
Chad Larson

Your other option is 24/7. They were around before Lyft and Uber. No one ever seemed to have a problem with them either.

Brian Nieken
Brian Nieken

Not true. I use both of these companies because they're cheaper, easier to set up a ride, and I don't get bullshitted on "the best way to go."

Chris Welton
Chris Welton

Sure. Let me just sit outside and take photos.

Patrick Pierson
Patrick Pierson

Even if cabs upgraded to using credit cards easier it would be a start. The cash transaction always feels a bit shady. Bottom line, If you want to compete you need to evolve. Lyft has been fantastic and its really restored my faith in the business.

Lily Ann
Lily Ann

Thank you to everyone that shut that troll up, I do it whenever this topic comes up and the uninformed and miserable are giving me heartburn. Lyft and Über rock and not having a car they get my money all the live long day. Try asking a cab dispatch where your cab is. Try telling a cab driver which route you want to take or asking which one he thinks is fastest. I've chosen not to have a car for years and grateful I don't have to take a cab anymore. Made lots of friends with drivers that not all speak perfect English but I still have many meaningful conversations with them.

Todd C. Scott
Todd C. Scott

So I guess this means that the cabbies no longer should have to pay $1000/year for annual cab inspection/background check/license fees since Uber & Lyft aren't paying those fees? That's about $1M gone from Minneapolis a year. And how about insurance? Uber & Lyft skirt regulations by not requiring full time commercial liability insurance. Pittsburgh shut down Lyft this week over the lack of insurance.

Chad Larson
Chad Larson

I would much rather ride around in a brand new car and pay less than a crappy rickety crown vic any day of the week.

Joseph Bartel
Joseph Bartel

I think minorities can take care of themselves without social justice warriors like Chris Welton speaking for them.

OlWillyClinton
OlWillyClinton

If cab companies have a problem with competition coming in, it's time for them to be more competitive. I have only had negative experiences in cabs the past few years. The only ride in a Lyft I've ever had that wasn't positive (read: Still better than a cab) was with a driver that was just boring and drove a crappy car. I gave her a low rating, and I won't see her again. Boom. The free market at work.

Andrew Kuechle
Andrew Kuechle

Chris Welton, you don't think its ironic that in your rant about cultural stereotypes, you culturally stereotyped uber users? I took many on the 4th, and they were what you would consider "a typical cabbie" the difference is he probably made more money and works for himself. What's wrong with that?

OlWillyClinton
OlWillyClinton

It's pretty much impossible for the driver to give themselves a tip. All charges are done from the phone of the person who ordered the cab. Unless she gave the driver her phone and told him/her to go wild, she's flat out lying to you. There's now way that would happen otherwise.

OlWillyClinton
OlWillyClinton

I don't understand what you're trying to say here. Extrapolate.

OlWillyClinton
OlWillyClinton

Your facts are just plain wrong. Every Lyft driver has $1,000,000 incidental coverage, and $50,000 comprehensive coverage. That'll cover quite a bit.

OlWillyClinton
OlWillyClinton

You're purposefully ignoring my comments because they don't fit into your schema. You're wrong. Give it up.

OlWillyClinton
OlWillyClinton

Many cab drivers have the option for credit cards. They have a Square on their phone that you swipe on. That way they can avoid the taxes. It's shady as hell.

OlWillyClinton
OlWillyClinton

Lyft drivers have $1,000,000 of liability coverage, and $50,000 of comprehensive and collision coverage. Link below for substantiation.

Any other lies you want to spread?

https://www.lyft.com/safety

shortgirl26
shortgirl26

@OlWillyClinton I'll nitpick this one: it says :"Lyft offers"; not the same as provides or requires the drivers to have the excess that it offers.  Unless they can substantiate that all their drivers (or at least the one driving me) carries it, I remain skeptical.  Maybe because I work in insurance for a living...and specialize in commercial insurance

OlWillyClinton
OlWillyClinton

@shortgirl26 They do. All their drivers are given it through the company. Talk to the drivers; they're all happy to tell you how the process works.

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