Lexington and other cities will not have to enact their own ordinances for ride-sharing companies such as Lyft and Uber now that the state has enacted its own regulations, city attorneys told the Urban County Council on Tuesday.
Glenda George, a lawyer for the city, said the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet recently issued regulations that require companies to conduct criminal background checks, maintain insurance and provide a list of drivers to city officials, among other requirements.
The transportation network will be regulated and enforced mostly at the state level, George told the Planning and Public Safety Committee on Tuesday.
The council has debated for months whether to regulate the companies that use mobile technology to connect drivers and riders. The city's taxi companies have said that the ride-sharing companies were operating illegally and had an unfair advantage.
The city's taxi ordinance required a licensing fee, 24-hour coverage and insurance. Because Lyft and Uber did not have to comply with those regulations, they had an unfair financial advantage, cab operators argued.
Council member Peggy Henson said during Tuesday's meeting that although the city will not have to enact its own regulations for ride-sharing companies, she wants the city to look at its taxi regulations.
Currently, to be a taxi operator, a company must have a minimum of 25 cabs. Henson said she is considering lowering that number and possibly tinkering with the law that says cabs must be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Henson said she would like to return with some possible recommendations for the council to consider at the committee's next meeting in February.
Council member Kevin Stinnett questioned how the city and state were going to enforce the new ride-sharing regulations. Before the state regulations took effect, it was difficult to tell who was driving for Lyft and Uber.
City officials said Tuesday that the new state regulations will require the ride-sharing companies to submit a list of names of drivers to the state. Rick Curtis, an administrator in the office of the public safety commissioner, estimated that there are 70 ride-sharing drivers in Fayette County.
Finance commissioner Bill O'Mara said the city will use those lists to collect occupational taxes. The city has two full-time people who investigate and collect occupational taxes, O'Mara said.