Public Hearing – RE: companies like Uber and Lyft – Transportation

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

Date:  July 8, 2014

Time:  1:30 or shortly thereafter

Place:  Minneapolis City Hall, Room 317

            350 South 5th Street

Minneapolis MN, 5541

Purpose:  Ordinance Amendments for Transportation Network Companies and Taxicabs

The Community Development and Regulatory Services Committee of the Minneapolis City Council will consider amending Chapter 341 of the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances relating to taxicab licenses, and creating a new Chapter 343 relating to Transportation Network Companies.

Transportation Network Companies are for hire, small vehicle passenger transportation services that allow drivers using their own personal vehicles to transport riders who have connected with them through a cell phone application.

If approved, Chapter 341 will be modernized to update requirements.  Chapter 343 will create the regulations that the Transportation Network Companies will operate under.

The proposed ordinance amendments are available on our website at www.minneapolismn.gov/licensing.

You are invited to attend, express your opinions, and/or submit such in writing by contacting Grant Wilson, Manager of Business Licenses at 612-673-3902 or grant.wilson@minneapolismn.gov.

Information in Other Languages:  Yog xav paub tshaj nos ntxiv, hu 612-673-2800.  Macluumaad dheeri ah, kala soo xiriir 612-673-3500. Para mas información llame al 612-673-2700.

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One thought on “Public Hearing – RE: companies like Uber and Lyft – Transportation

  1. Katie

    Wow, scary changes to the taxicab regulations. Here’s what I just wrote to Councilmember Frey (jacob.frey@minneapolismn.gov) & CC’ed to Mr. Wilson (grant.wilson@minneapolismn.gov) – thanks for the heads-up!

    ====================================

    July 2, 2014

    Dear Councilmember Frey,

    I was appalled to read the following proposed change to Taxi Regulation Ordinance 341.170 where the following passage is struck from Minneapolis law: “No taxicab driver shall carry any other passenger than the person first employing the taxicab, except … only with the consent of the first passenger or passengers.”

    Of the pages upon pages of changes to Ordinance 341, this small sentence stands out because of the grave danger it poses to public safety.

    Someone who has hired a taxi to take them from Point A to Point B and already embarked upon that journey should never be forced to accept a perfect stranger into their car because the taxi driver wants to make additional money.

    This leaves the passenger in a most terrible situation when the taxi driver deems a stranger safe and the passenger doesn’t. The passenger could be at some random point in between Point A and Point B and have absolutely no option other than to 1) accept the stranger as a riding companion in the seat next to them despite their intuition of imminent danger or 2) disembark at this random point that they had no intention of disembarking at and try desperately to figure out what to do next to keep themselves safe.

    This winter I took a taxi to the airport where the driver told us about an unfortunate incident where, in trying to escape from a passenger who had turned violent over the matter of paying a fare, was caught by the passenger and had the back of his head sliced open by the passenger (he described lying on the pavement and feeling his own brains through a hole in the back of his head).

    God bless that man for continuing to serve the public as a taxi driver after that. But God forbid that that be me as a passenger!

    Co-passengers have far less physical separation from each other than passengers and drivers have from each other. First-passengers will become easy targets for second-passengers if this change passes. But unlike when a taxi driver commits a crime against a passenger (in which case the victim has a hope of catching the taxi license number, nametag, etc.) in this case there will be no reliable identifying information to figure out who the attacker was!

    It is absolutely unconscionable for the City Council to make it legally permissible for the driver to put the opportunity to earn extra money over a passenger’s opportunity to insist on the safety offered by a ride where the only stranger with which one shares the vehicle is the driver him/herself.

    Once a passenger is accepted for a taxi ride, for safety’s sake, that passenger must have the legal right to refuse any strangers joining them in the car.

    Please note that I also oppose:
    2) Untying annual fare hikes from the Consumer Price Index and other standardized inflation measures (341.775)
    3) Changing meter inspections so that they are only inspected as requested rather than regularly for every car (341.780). I think that this will lead to fraud, especially against customers who are not well-off enough to be carrying GPS equipment of their own.
    4) I am also uncomfortable with the entire premise of Ordinance 343, but have not had a chance to review it as thoroughly. I take taxis and refuse to ride on Transporation Network Companies (TNCs) specifically because I trust the regulations that the city has put into effect on taxis. No matter what happens with Ordinance 343 (although I may disagree with it), I will continue to follow this practice – so it is about Ordinance 341 that I am concerned. I need to know that there is still a way of paying for an affordable ride from Point A to Point B that is heavily enough regulated that I can feel safe using it. So long as such a system exists in Minneapolis then as far as I am concerned, TNCs, although unfortunate, are a bit of a moot point.

    All that said – even though I strongly disagree with 341.775, 341.780, and 343, I do not feel that they bear an immediate and horrific threat to public safety, so that is all the mention I will make of my opposition to them.

    I am very sorry that I cannot attend Tuesday’s council meeting on the subject but hope that this letter will sway the Council in my place.

    Please – for public safety – do not pass the proposed change to Ordinance 341.170. Although eliminating references to Ordinance 341.730 will obviously be necessary, preserving the right of a first passenger to refuse any additional passengers before they have disembarked at their destination is crucial.

    Thank you,

    [name]

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