Uber, Lyft have 30 days to apply for licenses

Bryan Lewis and Meghan Clontz, sporting Lyft tees, wait outside of the OKC Council chambers for the start of the meeting. (Mark Hancock)

Bryan Lewis and Meghan Clontz, sporting Lyft tees, wait outside of the OKC Council chambers for the start of the meeting. (Mark Hancock)

A new ordinance regulating rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft went into effect Nov. 22 and companies have 30 days to submit applications for a license to operate legally in Oklahoma City.

Assistant City Manager MT Berry said both Uber and Lyft have requested license applications and if those applications are submitted to the city by Dec. 5, the city’s traffic and transportation commission could vote to approve at its Dec. 15 meeting.

If that happens, individual drivers for Uber and Lyft will have 60 days to complete physicals, vehicle inspection and apply for a permit.

“We can’t issue any driver permits until the licenses have been issued and approved to Uber and Lyft,” Berry said. “It really depends on when their application is approved.”

If applications from Uber or Lyft are submitted after Dec. 15, the next opportunity for the traffic and transportation commission to review the application would be Jan. 23. Approval on that date would begin the 60 day window for drivers to apply for permits.

After months of discussion and debate, the city council voted to require drivers of rideshare companies to obtain a $30 permit, pass a medical physical, background check and vehicle inspection. The council also changed regulations for traditional taxi companies that now allows them to incorporate higher fares during peak hours.

Uber and Lyft criticized the city’s new regulations and representative of the two companies say legislation at the state level is likely to be pushed next year in an effort to reduce regulations over rideshare companies operating in Oklahoma.

Ben Felder

Ben is an urban affairs reporter covering local government and education in Oklahoma City. He lives in OKC with his wife, Lori, and son, Satchel. Ben holds a masters in new media journalism from Full Sail University and is an OKC transplant from Kansas City, Mo. Twitter: @benfelder_okg

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