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Springfield, MO

2016 Year in Review No. 5. Uber arrives in Springfield

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SPRINGFIELD, MARCH 16—San Francisco-based ride-hailing company Uber announced plans March 16 to launch its service in Springfield pending the result of Missouri legislation.

It took eight more months before the first drivers hit the streets in the Queen City.

The Springfield hold-up started March 22 when council voted to table proposed new rules for transportation network companies and their drivers after an Uber representative said the ordinance would impede the company’s ability to feasibly operate in the Queen City. The ordinance was drafted to protect the public while allowing the ride-sharing service to come to town.

In April, the Missouri House of Representatives approved its measure, but in August, council again voted to table the regulations sending the ordinance back to the Finance and Administration Committee for further review.

Leaders across the city called on council to pass regulations, saying Uber is needed to make Springfield a viable city for business and tourism.

By its Nov. 14 meeting, council had all its ducks in a row and passed new rules. The regulations mean the city will issue permits to companies instead of directly to drivers, allowing businesses to perform their own due diligence. In addition, TNCs would have to cover $1 million in insurance for death, bodily injury and property damage while drivers are working, and the allowable age for drivers would be 18 instead of 21.

Then, at noon Nov. 17 the first Uber drivers hit the streets in Springfield.

Now local cab companies are making changes. Springfield Yellow Cab Co. is searching how to bridge the technology gap and move toward a phone application.

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