NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Before a standing room only crowd in city hall city council members approved regulations for ride sharing services, which include uberX and Lyft.
The vote in favor of the ordinance was 4-2, and it came after taxi drivers told the council that the legislation would give drivers picking up fares through the App service a pass on some regulations cabbies have to adhere to.
Some taxi drivers said they are forced to have cameras in their vehicles, while the transportation network company drivers are not.
Under the ordinance, the companies will have to have insurance, and there will be a .50 fee per pickup.
Some speakers wore T-shirts with the name uber or Lyft.
A local college student said the service would help when cabs are hard to come by. She also said it's another way for locals to earn extra money.
"As soon as the city is flooded with tourists, as soon as there's anything going on in this city - which is honestly majority of the time - getting around becomes nearly impossible. For instance during Mardi Gras it took me nearly three hours to get home I was stuck at the convention center, I called three different places for a cab," the young woman stated.
"We have families, we love our families just like you love yours. We want to treat our families good just like you treat yours. We don't want to be called deadbeat dads, but if you take the bread out of our mouth by giving it to somebody who ain't paid no cost to be the boss, then you are just like them," said longtime cabbie Sam Porter.
The drivers will be subjected to random drug testing, according to Councilman Jared Brossett, who pushed for the ordinance's passage.
"The testing under current law for taxi cab drivers is initial and then you don't get drug tested again until you renew your permit two years later, so after looking at the statistics from 2014 about how many people failed, we took another look at it and looked at how we could modernize this drug testing and so we think that random would be a move forward, a step forward as it relates to the drug testing requirements," Brossett said.
There was no word on when the ride sharing services. The companies who would operate them are not totally satisfied with the regulations. An Uber representative said they would review the requirements to see if they will allow the company to do business here.