KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Uber is threatening to leave Kansas City as City Council looks to enforce stricter regulations. Uber is a ride hailing company based on GPS technology.
Uber drivers and riders rallied on the steps of City Hall Thursday morning to oppose an ordinance that will require Uber to pay up before hitting the streets, but council members are not backing down.
Waving a banner that says – KC LOVES UBER – supporters wearing matching shirts made their voices heard.
Driving for Uber is a part-time gig for Reniyea Baker, whose been driving since it first arrived last summer.
“We take pride in what we do and how we treat our customers,” she said.
Each driver and rider praised Uber’s technology, safety, and consistency at a packed City Council meeting.
The proposal requires companies have insurance, regular car inspections, and background checks. It would also charge drivers $250. But if Uber pays an annual fee of $10,000, the driver permit will only cost $150.
Uber KC general manager, Andy Hung, says those charges are too much.
“What we are looking for is a regime that doesn’t put extra hurdles on drivers,” said Hung.
But there was strong opposition from other cab companies, which said if the city relaxes the rules, they should be relaxed for everyone in the business.
“They’re providing the same exact service,” said Bill George, the CEO of the KC Transportation Group. “Everybody follows the same rules. If the city wants to relax the rules, relax them for everybody.”
After an hour of testimony, Baker walked away hopeful about her future with Uber.
“We consider them our family because they do become our family,” she said.
City Council hopes to make a decision by next week.