A state Senate committee is considering regulations proposed by the state House for transportation network companies (TNC) like Uber and Lyft. Representative Kirk Matthews (R-Pacific) wants such companies to be required to do background check on drivers, confirm that vehicles are insured and ban drivers convicted of some serious felonies.
“This legislation, I believe, can create the opportunity for hundreds if not thousands of Missourians to start their own business. Many, if not most, TNC drivers work part-time to supplement their other income,” said Matthews.
Uber Missouri General Manager Sagar Shah agrees and says passing the legislation would grow the state’s economy. Uber operates in Kansas City, Columbia and St. Louis but Shah says the measure would allow the company to expand its business to other Missouri cities.
Former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch says the proposal doesn’t go far enough.
“There is a gold standard in background checks and it’s fingerprinting when you send the information through to the FBI,” said Fitch. “For the life of me, I can’t figure out why Uber is against that.”
Shah says getting fingerprints of their drivers prior to employment would hurt their business.
“What you have are only a bunch of full-time drivers, which means a reduction in deficit of being able to provide rides late at night and late on the weekend. That is when rides are needed most,” said Shah.
The measure would exempt the companies and drivers from paying most local taxes, except for earnings taxes. It would also require companies to pay an annual $5,000 fee, adopt no-tolerance policies on alcohol and drug use for drivers when they’re working and ban drivers convicted of some serious felonies.