With ride sharing services Uber and Lyft sweeping into the Rochester area, the Rochester City Council has taken action to level the playing field, lifting several regulations on traditional taxi drivers.
The alterations to Chapter 108 of the City’s municipal code, submitted by Council President Loretta Scott, Vice President Dana Miller and Finance Chair Carolee Conklin, cite a need to adapt to the changing transportation market in Rochester.
“These ridesharing companies such as Lyft and Uber operate a service that competes with taxis,” the legislation proposal reads. “Under State law, the Transportation Network Companies are exempt from local taxi regulations. These amendments are being proposed to recognize these changes in the transportation market and to give taxicab owners and drivers greater flexibility to compete for business.”
Ridesharing companies arrived in Rochester on June 29.
While the majority of taxi licensing and regulations remains the same, a small list of amendments lessens the burden for local taxi companies. Among these changes are no longer requiring all taxis to be painted white, allowing vehicles older than 10 years to operate as taxis and making “panic buttons” in taxis optional rather than mandatory.
These amendments—presented at a city council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 15—passed unanimously, with the ordinance going into effect immediately.