Uber, Lyft helped by Fort Worth council's deregulation vote

The Fort Worth City Council approved loosened regulations on transportation companies that only require them to register with the city. The Tuesday night decision makes the city not liable for setting requirements or running background checks on drivers, leaving that responsibility to the transportation companies.

“Too many times, we see government interfering in the free market and getting in the way of good ideas and innovative business models,” Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said in a statement. “This regulation effectively places the responsibility on the companies to ensure that drivers provide excellent and safe services to residents. Fort Worth is in the business of facilitating free market oriented business. For that reason, I'm pleased that this new ordinance places less regulation on the rideshare market, allowing the customers and riders to keep companies in check.”

The Fort Worth Council approved the looser regulations 8-0. They take effect Oct.1.

The looser regulations are a win for Smartphone-app based ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft. Uber issued a statement after the approval, crediting the city with “adopting modern ridesharing rules that empower residents, students and visitors to request a ride or earn money at the touch of a button.”

Under the new ordinance, companies will pay a $500 license fee, which lasts for two years. Every year, companies have to verify they run background checks on drivers, verify that their drivers are licensed and verify that their cars are insured. If a company violates those rules, it will lose its license to operate in the city for two years.

Fort Worth’s ruling is an opposite approach of Austin’s May ruling, which increased the city’s regulations on transportation companies. Austin’s new rules allow the city to run fingerprint checks on drivers, which it had already been doing on taxi drivers. After the approval, Uber and Lyft immediately stopped operating in the city.

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