NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - By a vote of four to two, the New Orleans City Council approved regulations for low-cost ride-sharing services like uberX and Lyft, but it is not clear if the companies will embrace those regulations.
Local cabbies filled council chambers on Thursday to oppose the new app-based transportation services.
The ride-sharing companies use apps that the public can download to hail rides for a fee.
Local cabbies say that industry will be getting off easy compared to all the regulations taxi drivers must adhere to in New Orleans, like having cameras in their vehicles.
Proponents say it is another way for locals to make a living by using their vehicles to ferry people around.
City leaders wanted to make sure uber, Lyft, and other such services have insurance for their drivers and also that drivers be drug tested randomly.
"You don't know what our struggles are. You sit up there and look at us like we are nothing, or nobody. Lots of us are educated, but we were forced in this business and now you're trying to force us out," said taxi driver Sam Porter, to a room full of applause.
Councilman Jared Brossett said it is time the city embrace the new industry.
"New Orleans cannot always be behind the 8-ball, we have to lead and leading in technology as we approach our 300th anniversary," Brossett said. "I think this would only strengthen our transportation system and give people options."
After the vote, uber said it would review the regulations to see if it can operate by them.