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Uber Drivers Rally Against Proposed Regulation For Kansas City

Matt Hodapp

Uber drivers rallied outside City Hall in Kansas City Thursday morning to oppose an ordinance draft that would regulate ride-hiring companies similar to taxi companies.

The proposal would require drivers to pay a $250 vehicle permit fee, or $150 if the parent company pays an annual $10,000 fee. The city says they need to make sure drivers have proper insurance, vehicle inspections and background checks.

"Right now this is my only source of income," said Don Pickard, a driver for ride-hiring company Uber. If the ordinance passes in its current form, Pickard says the costs will be too high for him to continue driving.

After the rally outside, Uber drivers lined up to voice their concerns to the City Council. Many claimed that Uber's internal safety measures would ensure public safety without the city creating costly regulation.

Uber has expressed that financial barriers have caused them to suspend service in other cities.

"What we really are looking for is a purpose built TNC (transportation network company) licensing regime that doesn't put a bunch of extra hurdles on drivers," says Hung.

The issue of exclusive contracts between Yellow Cab and downtown hotels was also addressed in revisions to the ordinance proposal. Ed Kail, representing More2, urged the council to vote yes on a clause that would ban taxi companies from making exclusive contracts with hotels and casinos.

The council is expected to vote on the proposed ordinance next Thursday.

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