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One driver finally took the group, but he started his meter at nearly $15, instead of the required $2.50.
Told what the reporters observed, Council Member Jacob Frey said, “Not picking up somebody because of the color of their skin, or where their home happens to be, is inexcusable.”
UberX, Lyft prices soar
Greenwell said her group would have turned to Uber and Lyft that night but their prices soared because of high demand. By 2:30 a.m., Uber was charging three times normal rates with a $20 minimum fare. Lyft fees shot up 75 percent.
Mebrahtu said it’s unfair that Uber and Lyft get to increase their prices during rush hour, while taxi cabdrivers have to stick to the city’s rate schedule.
Lyft and UberX, which are currently operating illegally in Minneapolis, are seeking special regulations at City Hall that differ from those that taxis must follow.
Frey has been working with the city’s regulatory staff to come up with an ordinance that would make the newcomers legal but also allow for regulation.
To win over the taxi industry, city officials are considering changes intended to relax regulations for its drivers. The latest proposal, released Friday, would allow companies to use older cabs, nix requirements to have a physical dispatch office and accept drivers with Wisconsin licenses.
Drivers would have some new rules, such as ensuring that the fare is visible at all times, and being placed out of service for not accepting credit cards.
The City Council’s regulatory committee may vote on the new ordinances July 8.
“Healthy competition will not eliminate all of the issues that are being experienced,” Frey said. “But the goal is that at the very least, it will make a dent.”