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Ride-hailing bill passes Missouri House

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On the same day Lyft launched service in the Queen City, the Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill forwarding Springfield’s ride-hailing regulations as a framework for the state.

Passed Jan. 26, House Bill 130 is designed to regulate transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft. Sponsored by Rep. Kirk Mathews, R-Pacific, the legislation would require TNCs to apply for an annual permit from the Missouri Department of Revenue and maintain required insurance coverage. Additionally, TNCs would need to conduct local and national criminal background checks for each driver, make sure all vehicles meet inspection requirements and not discriminate against customers, according to the bill summary.

In separate statements, both Uber and Lyft praised the passage as opening a door for the Show-Me State.

“Today’s approval moves us one step closer toward securing a permanent future for ride-sharing and all of the economic and public safety benefits it brings,” Lyft spokeswoman Adrian Durbin said in a news release. “We now look forward to working with the Senate and hope that Missouri will soon join the 38 other states that have passed legislation allowing ride-sharing to thrive.”

The bill’s language is similar to legislation passed by Springfield council members in November, according to Springfield Business Journal archives. Companies like Uber must be issued permits; cover $1 million in insurance for death, bodily injury and property damage; conduct background checks; and only hire drivers at least 18 years old. Earlier this month, Springfield Mayor Pro Tem Ken McClure testified before the Missouri House General Laws Committee in support of HB 130.

In just more than two months since Uber launched in Springfield, the company reports more than 10,000 riders have taken a trip, including riders from more than 100 other cities. Over 500 drivers have made at least one trip on the system, with roughly half working less than 10 hours a week. According to the release, the average fare is less than $15.

The bill was forwarded to the Missouri Senate on Jan. 26. The companion legislation – Senate Bill 185 sponsored by Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis – currently is under a first read. If passed, the state bill would become effective Aug. 28.

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