July 20, 2017

Most Kansas City taxis to operate like Uber and Lyft in wake of new state law

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Image Courtesy of Lyft

Kansas City’s licensed taxi business is about to all but disappear. But not its taxis.

On Monday, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens signed a law pushed by ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft. It poses lighter regulation than Kansas City’s ordinance governing drive-for-hire businesses. Crucially, it declares that the rules passed in Jefferson City trump those adopted by City Hall.

That Kansas City ordinance had been designed, amid much debate, to adapt to the app-driven business models used by Uber and Lyft. Those companies recruit vehicle owners to make themselves available to customers using smartphone apps to hail a ride.

The city wanted those businesses to operate under the same rules as traditional cab companies, including stringent background checks on drivers.

On Tuesday, the CEO of Kansas City’s dominant taxi business said that all but about 40 of the roughly 450 vehicles the company operates won’t bother with a city license come fall.

Instead, said Bill George, cabs that have operated under the Yellow Cab and 10/10 Taxi will be shifted to zTrip, a “transportation network company,” or TNC — subject to the same state licensing standards as fellow TNCs Uber and Lyft.“We were ambivalent about the bill” that Greitens signed into law, George said. “But […]

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