Recently, the Missouri House approved legislation that creates state-level regulations for ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft. The bill in question, HB 2330, would require ridesharing companies to provide insurance, pay permitting fees, and ensure certain consumer protections. It would also prohibit local governments from adding any additional restrictions on these companies.
We’ve written about ridesharing regulations in Missouri many times before, and we have submitted testimony on HB 2330 specifically. While state regulation of industries is not something the legislature should consider lightly, in the case of ridesharing, local government intransigence invites state-level intervention. For instance, in Saint Louis City and County, the Saint Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission has fought tooth and nail against the entry of Lyft and Uber. Far from embodying the ideal of local control, the commission, half of whose members are representatives of existing taxi companies, uses the state’s enabling legislation as an argument for why it cannot accommodate the entrance of ridesharing services.
The problem of local regulatory bodies trying to block ridesharing companies is not limited to Saint Louis; it's a nationwide phenomenon. In response, 30 states (including all of Missouri’s neighbors save Iowa) have approved statewide ridesharing regulations similar to those proposed in HB 2330.
Ridesharing can provide increased services and employment opportunities in Missouri’s urban areas, and efforts to allow these types of companies to operate safely and effectively could benefit the entire state. Whether or not HB 2330 becomes law, Missouri cities should reform their ridesharing regulations.