City council finalizes ordinance paving the way for Uber, Lyft services

City council finalizes ordinance paving the way for Uber, Lyft services

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Lake Charles City Council members on Wednesday approved an ordinance to allow ride-booking companies like Uber or Lyft to make their way to Lake Charles.

Council members approved an ordinance in October, but ironed out a few final details at its Wednesday meeting.

"The amendments are basically technical in nature," said Mayor Randy Roach.

The council voted through the ordinance in October but had a few minor amendments that were deferred from last month to the council's Feb. 1 meeting.

"Everybody knows about Uber. There's another company on the market. It's called Lyft. They're also interested in providing these types of services," said Roach.

But before those ride-booking services can come to Lake Charles, Roach said the city has to have ordinances in place to regulate that type of transportation service.

So, Roach said, "We had some of the representatives from each one of those company look at the ordinance, compare the ordinance to what other cities were doing and also talk about the possibility of even developing a statewide standard."

While much of the focus of the ordinance is on keeping passengers safe, the discussion also turned to concern for the drivers.

"The driver has to deal with the public and we know how the public can be sometimes, so I'm wondering what protects the driver," said council member Luvertha August.

August raised the question, "Can a driver refuse to transport their passenger if he's high or stoned or acting obnoxious?"

"I'm not aware of anything in the ordinance that requires that a driver accept a passenger. I don't think we have anything that requires that, am I correct?" Roach asked.

"Correct," responded city attorney Corey Rubin.

"So, I think the answer to Ms. August's question is that we would have certainly if they didn't want to accept a passenger, we have nothing, no provision that would impose a penalty on them,' Roach said.

"So I think it was intentionally left out for that reason," said John Cardone, city administrator.

Roach said just because we now have an ordinance on the books doesn't mean those ride services are coming next week. It simply paves the way for them to come.

There is no projected time as to when these ride-booking services will be available.

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