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After more than two years of talks, the Spokane City Council seems poised to pass new local regulations on ride-hailing company drivers that will include a new driver’s license fee for those taking their fares from a smartphone app. The city lawmakers leading the charge say they hope the changes will put those industries on a more even playing field with traditional cab drivers when picking up passengers in town.
In just over two years, Uber says it will let commuters soar over Los Angeles’ snarled traffic in flying taxis.
There have been mixed reactions from local taxi companies to the news of ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft beginning operations in Pullman. Uber and Lyft, which allow people to hail rides using an app, officially launched Sept. 29 in Pullman, two weeks after the Pullman City Council amended its background check requirements to appease the companies.
With no new rules in sight from the state Legislature, Spokane signed contracts with the popular ride-hailing services last week with the promise city laws would be rewritten. Traditional taxi drivers have been lobbying the City Council to pass rules that put the same, or a similar, regulatory burden on ride-hailing services to keep the market competitive.
From our archives, 100 years ago Spokane’s streetcar companies were in a slump, partly because of the steep rise in auto ownership, and partly because of competition from the jitneys, which were like the Uber cars of the time.
LONDON – Britain’s High Court ruled Friday that the Uber app to hail minicabs is lawful – a blow to London’s famous black cab drivers, who argued that it violated city regulations. The court’s decision came after London’s transport authority sought clarification as to whether the San Francisco-based company’s app worked in the same way as meters used by the strictly regulated black cabs.
When Chris Wetherell gets off shift as a firefighter at Spokane International Airport early in the morning, he takes a long drive to his home in Spokane Valley. On his way, he opens up a Lyft app on his phone, throws a pink moustache on his car and picks up someone in the city looking for a ride. Wetherell has been a Lyft driver since May and was one of the first five drivers to operate in the city. Lyft and its competitor Uber are ride-share companies that use phone apps to arrange transactions to transport passengers. But since Lyft and Uber arrived in Spokane, taxi companies have questioned their legality.