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City Passes Ordinance to Legalize Lyft, Uber

Lynn Friedman via Flickr

Rideshare companies Lyft and Uber are now legal in Salt Lake City---as long as they abide by a few rules.

The council removed the $30 minimum and 30-minute pre-arrangement requirement that’s in place for taxi services. The ordinance also requires drivers have city-authorized background checks and vehicle inspections. Lyft and Uber drivers have been issued fines of up to $6500 for non-compliance with existing regulations. David Everitt is Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker’s chief of staff. He says Tuesday night’s decision is a work in progress, but the rules are necessary.

“I don’t think you’ll ever see the requirement for those to exist going away," Everitt says. "You might see a change in how they’re administered or the possibility for third-party certification. Maybe there’s gonna be a way to streamline the process so that almost everything can be done online.”

Lyft driver Angie Palmer is staying positive despite the company’s campaign to fight the ordinance.

“In the beginning we didn’t have all this kind of positive talk about us even being here," Palmer says. "So the fact that the city wants us here and their speaking about working with the TNC [Transportation Network]  companies and really developing Lyft and rideshares in general, it’s very encouraging.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Uber disagrees with Palmer, arguing the regulations are outdated and shouldn’t apply to the business model. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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