Missouri lawmakers approve new ride-hailing rules

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A win in the Missouri House for ride hailing companies. A House committee approved a proposal to make it easier for companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in the St. Louis area.

The measure would exempt rideshare companies from local rules set by the Taxicab Commission. They would instead be required to pay an annual registration fee of $5,000 and would be exempt from local and municipal taxes. Companies would also be allowed to conduct their own background check and vehicle inspections.

Uber has promised 10,000 new jobs for part-time drivers if the legislation passes.

Ride share company Lyft will begin operating Thursday (Jan. 26) in Springfield, Missouri under similar rules and could expand further if the proposed bill succeeds.

A Missouri state statute requires fingerprint background checks and chauffeur licenses of the city’s Taxicab Commission drivers. Representatives from the Taxicab Commission have said they would welcome the proposed changes so long as the new rules apply to their companies and drivers as well.

Uber has operated illegally in St. Louis since negotiations with the Taxicab Commission ended in September 2015.

Uber threatened to leave Kansas City, MO in 2015 due to licensing fees and fees for drivers. The city and company reached an agreement where Uber drivers would no longer be required to pay an annual fee if Uber as a company paid an annual fee of $45,000. Uber drivers in Kansas City must also be certified with the company within 30 days of their first pick-up.

The proposed measure will be heard in another House committee meeting.

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