New Orleans City Council Votes in Favor of Ridesharing Companies

After a long awaited ruling, New Orleans City Council has approved the operation of ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft in New Orleans, but not without complaint from the companies themselves.

Uber New OrleansBoth Uber and Lyft expressed concern with some of the new regulations, which ranged from specifics with insurance and fees to lawsuits and drug testing.

According to Gambit’s Jeanie Riess, who was present at the ruling yesterday, the companies are dissatisfied with amendment 85, “a provision that would prevent transportation network companies or TNCs (the newly minted, digitally-based, for hire companies the ordinance creates) from interfering with passenger or driver litigation. That amendment gives local passengers the right to litigate here in New Orleans as opposed to traveling out of state to litigate binding arbitration.”

“The fact that it’s not 100 percent of what either side prefers is a sign that we have struck the right balance,” said Councilmember Jared Brossett just before the vote.

Typically seven members are present at a vote, but Councilwoman Stacy Head was absent. The final vote was four in favor of ridesharing in New Orleans, two against.

The Uber team has been active in New Orleans since hiring Tom Hayes as general manager in May 2014, but the first vehicles did not hit the road until September of last year.

Lyft is unsure whether they will launch in the New Orleans market. Executive director Mike Masserman said to the council, “What I can tell you today is that I’m not sure whether we’ll be able to operate in the market, but we will continue to work with you.”

As it stands, the council will continue to talk to the ridesharing companies.