Both ride-sharing companies operate out of St. Louis, but not St. Charles. State Senator Bob Onder (R-Lake St. Louis) is sponsoring a bill in the Missouri Senate to change that.
“Let me make this clear. The best solution is for his bill or one like it to pass in Jeff City. This should be a statewide fix,” Ehlmann said.
The county executive said if the legislature fails to pass, he and St. Charles County Council Chair Mike Elam would propose to the county council to let voters decide the matter.
“Let’s let the market decide rather than the regulators either in Jeff City or municipalities of St. Charles County,” Ehlmann said.
Ehlmann said he’s not against taxi service and that they do a good job; he just wants residents to have options. He said this is an economic development issue with businesses considering moving to St. Charles.
“We tell them about the great transportation system, educated workforce, low crime rates, and they’re excited and then we say, ‘by the way, we don’t have Uber,’ *click*,” Ehlmann said.
Both Elam and Ehlmann prefer the state regulate an industry that constantly crosses city and county boundaries.
“If legislature doesn’t do anything, it’s mid-May. By end of May, we would have to have something passed to get it on the ballot in August,” Elam said.
If Onder’s bill passes the Senate, it would then move to the State House.
“I’m optimistic they will do the right thing in Jeff City, but if they don’t, we will move on,” Ehlmann said.
Owners of taxi cab companies in St. Charles want ride-sharing services to follow the same insurance rules and requirements for drivers who apply to cab companies.