KENNER, LA (WVUE) - In a designated lot across from Louis Armstrong International Airport taxis share space with Uber drivers. But a new ordinance passed by the Kenner City Council designed to regulate ride-sharing companies also known as "Transportation Network Companies" is not sitting well with Uber, Lyft, or the City of New Orleans, which owns the airport located in another parish.
And now the new mayor of Kenner is trying to get all the parties talking again. Mayor Ben Zahn said he is looking for a solution to the controversy.
"We're not trying to push the TNCs out. We want to welcome this business, but they just have to understand that there are set rules and regulations that they do need to work under," said Kenner Councilman Mike Sigur.
He said the app-based transportation companies would be required to charge $33 for picking up a fare at the airport and an additional $15 for extra passengers.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu wants the brakes applied on the ordinance.
"I think that was a step backwards. I hope they can reconsider that because we have to have all the ground transportation opportunities available for the customers that are coming into this city, record numbers of tourists have as many options available to them as well," said Landrieu.
"They have said this in conversation to us that they do about a thousand TNC pickups a day and that if the TNCs were to leave that would create a big hole in the transportation of travelers from the airport to New Orleans or the region. Well, when I asked this question of them before the TNCs started operating did we not have those same thousand pickups a day and who did that and it's the taxi industry," said Sigur.
Uber issued a statement in response to the ordinance approved by the council.
"No way shape or form is it an increase in rates. The rates that are in place from the airport to the city of New Orleans are the same rates that the city of New Orleans, City of Kenner set years ago and all its saying is Uber you must apply that rate," Sigur stated.
An Uber driver who did not want to be identified said she doubts the company would pull out of Kenner over the regulations.
"No, Uber is going to operate, Uber makes a lot of money in this area, they're going to operate," she said.
Cab drivers said the Kenner Council acted appropriately.
"All that, they can drive anything," said Cabbie Reginald Green.
"In these days it's very hard to make money for cab driver. We are struggling. Every single person," added driver Mohammad Tufail.
"If it's not enough taxis in the airport, how do you explain to me that we have to wait two and three hours to pick up one passenger," said Blanca Moya, another cabbie.
Friday afternoon Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn issued the following statement: