The City has passed an Ordinance that provides a path for TNC operation on September 18, 2018 that went into affect on October 18, 2018. The Ordinance was put in place to balance the safety and transportation equity of our citizens with the contractual needs of TNCs.
Unfortunately, Uber nor Lyft have not contacted the City to discuss their apparent decision to not operate in Ashland. Instead, the City has received the information via the media.
When approving the Ordinance that paved the way for Uber and Lyft to operate in Ashland, the Council required provisions which they believed protected and ensured equity for citizens. They required vehicle safety checks which was seen by the Council as an effort to ensure that our citizens were safely transported. The safety check is the sole responsibility of the driver and does not affect the TNCs. Potential TNC drivers that have contacted the City have not had an issue with the vehicle safety check. The second issue Uber and Lyft may have is that the Council required the TNCs to provide a handicapped accessible vehicle in their fleet. The Council believes that transportation equity is important.
Those interested can contact Uber and Lyft and express their desire for them to provide service in Ashland. There is no doubt that TNCs can provide a valuable service and the City Council did not want to preclude their operation in Ashland. They were simply trying to ensure that that valuable service was safe and accessible to all.
The City of Ashland has regulated taxicab companies and taxicabs through the Ashland Municipal Code (AMC) for almost 20 years, but the AMC does not address newer forms of vehicle for hire services offered by Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), such as Uber and Lyft. In addition, the AMC does not allow TNCs to operate under their current models. The City is considering amendments to the AMC to address these newer forms of vehicle for hire services. The proposed amendments are set forth in the below ordinance. The proposed ordinance was presented to the Transportation Commission at its May 17, June 21, and July 19, 2018 meetings in order for it to make a formal recommendation for the City Councilís consideration to be discussed at the August 21, 2018 Council Business Meeting with a second reading of the ordinance scheduled for the September 18, 2018 Council Business Meeting.