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Tacoma City Council To Consider Streamlining Regulations For Uber Drivers

In this March 14, 2014, file photo, Jerad Bernard hands out cards to passers-by offering one free ride through the Lyft ridesharing service in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson
/
AP
In this March 14, 2014, file photo, Jerad Bernard hands out cards to passers-by offering one free ride through the Lyft ridesharing service in Seattle.

As people increasingly use Uber instead of taking a taxi or riding the bus, cities such as Tacoma and Seattle have created new regulations to cover the ride-app companies. On Tuesday, Tacoma’s City Council will consider a measure to streamline its licensing process as a way to reduce the burden for city staff.

Under the proposed measure, Tacoma would still require drivers for Uber and other ride-hailing companies to get licensed by the city. But the city would no longer issue drivers a picture identification card or a decal to put on their car.

The city’s finance director, Andy Cherullo, says they felt that those two things were redundant since people can already see a picture of the driver through the app when they book a car. Cherullo says Tacoma wanted to make the licensing procedure less cumbersome because city workers have been overwhelmed by the constant flow of new drivers coming in to get licensed.

“One of the things that really surprised us was the turnover amount,” he said. “We never expected A) 1,200 drivers to come get licensed and B) it seems they send a ton of new drivers every month because a lot of them decide, apparently, that they don’t want to do it.”

An Uber spokesman said the large numbers of people who have signed up to drive show that many people value the flexibility of the app and the chance to earn some extra money. Still, Uber drivers in places such as Seattle and New York have expressed frustration with the rate Uber charges for rides. In Seattle, a new ordinance allowing ride-app drivers to unionize is now being challenged in court.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.
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