Mayor Signs Ordinance Permitting Ridesharing Operations In New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed into law an ordinance permitting ridesharing operations in Orleans Parish. Last week, the City Council adopted Ordinance Calendar No. 30,617, authored by Councilmembers Brossett and Guidry, that creates definitions and regulations for the operations of Transportation Network Companies (TNC) and TNC for-hire vehicles, such as uberX and Lyft. The ordinance was the result of productive discussions between the City, City Council and various stakeholders, along with input from the public.
“I am grateful we were able to come together and craft this ordinance in a way that gives residents and visitors more choices, increases accessibility to more areas of our city and ensures the public’s safety,” said Mayor Landrieu. “We will continue to work with the City Council and the various parties involved to implement this ordinance as fairly and effectively as possible, and we will continue to work with all for-hire industry stakeholders to continue to improve equity, enforcement and customer service among all for-hire industry sectors.”
District D Councilmember & Chairman of the Transportation and Airport Committee Jared Brossett said, "Ridesharing is an economic benefit and much-needed transportation option for the citizens of New Orleans. Through long months of testimony, I heard from many constituents on the need for rideshare services that will create jobs and increase access. We are a city that embraces technology and look forward to rideshare companies operating here in our city."
District A Councilmember Susan Guidry said, “Beginning with the Complete Streets ordinance in 2011, I have been proud to work as a member of the Council’s Transportation Committee to improve the quality and variety of available transportation options for our citizens, and I remain committed to pursuing alternative transportation initiatives, including the pedicab pilot program, increasing the number of bike lanes, and developing cycling and pedestrian-friendly transportation routes such as the Lafitte Greenway. This ordinance introduces another mode of transportation to our city, and we have worked hard to ensure public safety and consumer protection while meeting our citizens’ demand for increased for-hire options. I look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Landrieu, Councilmember Brossett, and the rest of the Council to improve all aspects of our city’s transportation system for both our residents and visitors.”
In April 2012, the City Council passed sweeping taxicab reforms recommended by the Landrieu Administration. The reforms have already improved vehicle standards, CPNC standards, and driver and passenger safety. The changes brought significant improvements to the New Orleans taxicab industry by requiring newer, cleaner vehicles, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and credit card machines in all cars. Also, in 2014, the City Council passed regulations permitting luxury car services to use app-based technology, which allowed for Uber Black to operate in New Orleans.
The new ordinance signed today permits ridesharing operations by defining a TNC as a person, organization or corporation that connects passengers with drivers using their personal vehicles for the purposes of for-hire vehicle transportation through a TNC digital network. Drivers are not required to be employees of the TNC. Services commence when a driver logs in to the TNC digital application and conclude when the driver logs out.
Under the Ordinance, the Department of Safety and Permits has full discretion in issuing permits and is responsible for:
• Ensuring compliance and enforcing violations;
• Collecting an annual permit fee of $15,000, as well as 50 cents per trip originating in Orleans Parish to be paid each quarter; and,
• Submitting lists of TNC drivers to be randomly drug tested.
TNCs found to be operating without a permit will be fined no less than $500 for the first offense and will not be allowed to obtain a permit for one calendar year. Subsequent offenses will result in the maximum fine allowable and permanent prohibition from obtaining a TNC permit.
To apply for a TNC permit, applicants must provide:
• Name of the business;
• Name, phone number, mailing address, and street address of the applicant's agent for service of process;
• Proof of insurance;
• Description of standard rates;
• Occupational license;
• Proof of physical office address in Orleans Parish; and,
• Any additional information requested by the Department of Safety and Permits Director
Each TNC must maintain a website that provides:
• Customer service telephone number and/or email address;
• The TNC’s zero tolerance policy for driver drug and alcohol use;
• Reporting mechanism for drivers suspected of zero tolerance policy violations;
• Rate calculation formula; and,
• Department of Safety and Permits complaint contact information.
TNCs must maintain a registry with the Department of Safety and Permits of all employed or contracted TNC drivers that must be electronically updated the first of each month or within 24 hours of request. The registry will include the following information:
• Full name;
• Date of birth;
ª Louisiana driver's license number;
• Louisiana motor vehicle registration number of vehicle or license plate number; and,
• Active dates of employment or contracts.
TNC vehicle requirements are:
• Must be owned or leased by driver;
• Must have an insurance policy that covers TNC vehicles (provided by the driver or the TNC itself);
• Must be annually inspected by a state-certified mechanic or garage;
• Must be under seven years old; and,
• Cannot be licensed as a taxicab, limousine, horse-drawn carriage, pedicab, tour vehicle, courtesy vehicle, non-emergency medical vehicle or airport shuttle.
Additional TNC requirements and regulations:
• Must perform background checks on drivers;
• Cannot increase rates during emergencies;
• Minimum charge for a trip set at $3.50;
• Minimum charge for trip to/from Louis Armstrong International set at $33.00;
• Not permitted to pick up passengers at Louis Armstrong International without prior authorization from the New Orleans Aviation Board;
• Cannot pick up passengers hailed from the street or at designated taxicab stands;
• Drivers must submit to a drug test within 24 hours of an accident;
• Cannot impose additional charges to persons with physical disabilities; and,
• Must comply with laws relative to the accommodation of service animals.