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Lacey approves ordinance to regulate Uber, other ride-hailing services in city

Jonathan Hopkins (right), operations and logistics manager for Uber in Washington state, answers questions from staff and Lacey City Council Thursday night.
Jonathan Hopkins (right), operations and logistics manager for Uber in Washington state, answers questions from staff and Lacey City Council Thursday night. rboone@theolympian.com

Lacey City Council on Thursday unanimously approved an ordinance that regulates Uber and other ride-hailing services in the city.

The ordinance already is in place in Yelm, Olympia and Tumwater.

The four cities took a uniform approach to regulating taxicab companies and drivers, and they decided to do the same with the ride-sharing businesses. Taxi services, however, will not be subject to the ride-sharing rules, but will still be regulated under an occupational permit process.

Some aspects of the ride-sharing ordinance:

▪ The ride-sharing companies will have to get a business license in each jurisdiction, as well as pay an annual licensing fee of $1,000. It is set that high to cover the cost of twice-annual audits of Uber drivers.

▪ Uber drivers also will have to get a business license in each jurisdiction if they have rides that originate in those cities. For example, an Uber driver from Tacoma who drops off a customer in Olympia would not have to get an Olympia business license. But that driver would have to get a license if they picked up a customer in Olympia.

▪ Uber drivers will not be allowed to accept street hails, unlike taxicabs.

Mayor Andy Ryder said Uber will add a lot to the community. He hopes local bars will remind patrons about the option to use the service.

Councilman Jason Hearn suggested the city take on a civic campaign to call attention to that option.

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