It will be easier to use ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft throughout Missouri, especially airports, under the bill signed Monday by Gov. Eric Greitens.
Before, local governments regulated the services. Taxi companies were sharply critical of the services, especially the manner in which Uber performed background checks on its drivers. The St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission went so far as to block both Uber and Lyft in 2014 and 2015 from legally operating in St. Louis or St. Louis County.
Deregulating the services “gets rid of a whole thicket of regulations that were set up by special interests all over the state to prevent this,” Greitens said of the bill that was sponsored by Rep. Kirk Mathews, R-St. Louis County.
The rules require each company to pay a $5,000 licensing fee and set up separate contracts with airports. Individual drivers would have to have liability insurance and submit to background checks, but wouldn’t be required to obtain a chauffeur’s license.
Upon the bill being signed, Greitens said, Uber began service immediately in St. Charles and Jefferson City, and he said he expects Lyft to begin operating in the state soon. Already, ride-hailing companies operate in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia.