With a stroke of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ pen, the idea of St. Charles County voters being asked to decide if they want the option of having an Uber or Lyft driver pick them up went away.
Greitens’ signature on House Bill 130 exempts Transportation Network Companies [TNCs] like Uber or Lyft from statutes related to regional taxicab districts opens the door for them to operate statewide. The new legislation makes the Missouri Department of Revenue the sole regulatory body for TNCs with the authority to develop rules to administer the statute.
TNCs, such as Uber and Lyft, are accessible through an app on a smart phone or the web. Customers call for a ride and then are picked up by a certified driver. TNC drivers provide transportation using their own non-commercial vehicles.
Under the statute, TNCs must disclose the fare or fare structure on their websites or digital networks, provide riders with the applicable rates being charged and offer the option to receive an estimated fare. The TNCs’ digital networks must display a picture of the TNC driver responding and the license plate number of the driver’s vehicle. A detailed electronic receipt also must be provided to the rider.
TNCs must adopt a zero tolerance policy toward drivers using intoxicating substances; enforce driver eligibility requirements, including background checks and registration; adopt nondiscrimination policies with respect to riders; and maintain individual trip records of riders and drivers.
In January, St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann came out in support of TNC legislation saying TNCs represent exciting new transportation options for county residents, who were asking for it. He and Councilmember Mike Elam [District 3] said then that the county may take steps locally if legislation at the state level did not pass.
On April 10, Elam sponsored a bill that would place a charter amendment on the August ballot to allow Uber and Lyft operation within St. Charles County. The charter amendment had language nearly identical to HB 130 and would limit how much a TNC could be regulated by a county municipality.
Until the passage of HB130, TNCs were restricted in unincorporated St. Charles County or in any other county municipality except the city of St. Charles, where they were prohibited.
Elam’s bill was read once and tabled until April 24, when he proposed that it be withdrawn. The six councilmembers present agreed. Councilmember Joe Brazil [District 1] was absent. The coup de grace followed a crowded ceremony earlier that same day during which Greitens signed off on HB130 at St. Charles Community College.