City Council to vote Tuesday on vehicle-for-hire rules

Ready to ride

The future of how transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft operate in Fort Worth will be in the hands of the Fort Worth City Council on Tuesday.

After more than a year of discussion, the city council will consider an ordinance requiring companies to apply for an operating license from the city, which will cost $500 and be valid for two years.

To qualify for a license, companies will need to submit a compliance certification verifying that drivers have gone through background and driver’s license checks, and that vehicles have insurance and have passed state inspection and emission tests.

Other than that, companies will not need to comply with any other city, state or federal laws except those already in place.

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According to a city staff report, the goal of the ordinance is to let “free-enterprise and market forces provide the checks and balances for determining quality of service levels based on competition between the various vendors and business models.”

A previous version of the ordinance required drivers who pick up passengers from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport to also obtain a driver ID and vehicle decal in compliance with airport regulations. That requirement has been removed from the ordinance. 

Assistant City Manager Jay Chapa said the airport will deal with drivers directly so they don’t have to go through the city.

The vehicles-for-hire ordinance currently regulates taxis, limousines and shuttles but not transportation network companies, known as TNCs. The city has long stressed that it would like to keep government regulation as minimal as possible. Back in May, Uber and Lyft announced they would leave Austin after voters defeated a proposition to reduce regulation of TNCs.