On April 9, Kansas City Council officials approved new regulations that will govern local ride-sharing operations.Unfortunately, Uber representatives say that they will stop operating in Kansas City in light of the new regulations.
The regulations that were announced last Thursday require Uber pay $40,000 a year and for all drivers to pay $100 for insurance and background checks.
The city has argued that the use of the background and insurance checks is to protect members of the public and to ensure that drivers have a business license.
Needless to say, Uber is dissatisfied with the proposed regulations and has called them “antiquated.” The mayor of Kansas City, Sly James, retorted that Uber refused to negotiate because the company does not want to be regulated at all.
It is not an idle threat to stop operation in an entire city. Uber has certainly done in the past and they vow to continue to do it in the face of what they consider to be unnecessary regulation.
The company has already ceased to operate in Boise, Idaho; Anchorage Alaska, and San Antonio, Texas. You can now add Kansas City, Mo, to that list.
Lyft, a rival ride-sharing company that ceased operations in October 2014, is reconsidering returning to the city in light of Uber’s departure. However, the statement released by the company does not bode well for drivers or passengers.
The terse statement merely stated that the company was evaluating “whether or not we can operate in the city under these revised rules.”
Uber and other ride-sharing companies have argued that their presence in a city significantly reduces drinking and driving behavior.
Organizations such MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) have teamed up with Uber and Lyft to encourage drunk individuals to avoid drinking and driving. Additionally, university studies have claimed that Uber is responsible for a 3.6 to 5.6 percent decrease in fatal alcohol crashes. The company is still quite young, and actual impact on traffic safety won’t be revealed or substantiated for several years.
Nonetheless, the loss of the two largest ride-sharing apps in a growing metropolitan area like Kansas City, Mo may be a blow to all of us who share the roadways with party revelers.
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