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City will consider major reforms to taxi regulations

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: June 30, 2014 - 12:51 PM

Updated at 12:40 p.m.

Minneapolis is poised to make major changes to the city's taxicab ordinances under a proposal that will be considered in conjunction with Lyft and UberX regulations next week.

The revisions (below), sponsored by council member Abdi Warsame, eliminate a litany of regulations that city officials have layered into the taxi code over many decades. Cab companies would no longer be required to have wheelchair-accessible vehicles, for example, nor would they have to maintain a physical dispatch office.

Taken together, the changes aim to make the city's taxicab ordinance look more like regulations being debated for app-based companies like Lyft and UberX, which have been operating illegally in the city.

Warsame said some of the most significant changes for the industry allow them to use older vehicles, park downtown and park the vehicles near their homes in residential areas.

"They're not allowed to park ont he meters downtown," Warsame said. "So they can't even put money in the meters and then go get coffee."

“[The proposal] takes a lot of the complaints that they had and it basically has parity with regards to what Uber is going to get," Warsame said. He added that the industry still has concerns with using the meter rate and the insurance used by Uber.

The proposed ordinance for Lyft and UberX has also been modified (see before and after here) to ensure that the drivers' personal insurance plans are aware that they are occassionaly using the cars commercially. It also specifies more clearly when drivers are active in the system.

Core distinctions between the services would remain in city code, however. Taxis can only charge the meter rate, while Lyft and UberX can modify their pricing. Those app-based companies, meanwhile, would not be allowed to accept street hails.

The proposed changes do not raise the meter rate, but eliminate language that linked future rate changes to the Consumer Price Index and other measures. The city has bypassed that language in the past when rates were frozen in 2012

Other changes include (click links to see section, or scroll through document posted below):

 

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