No longer a rumor: Rochester officials hold 'high level' talks with Uber
After months of speculation, the ride-sharing service Uber has taken its first strong step toward having a presence in Rochester.
An attorney representing the company spoke with city officials on Monday by phone, according to City Clerk Aaron Reeves. The attorney provided the city with a draft ordinance to consider. "They want to work with the city to come up with an acceptable ordinance if possible," Reeves said via email.
It's now up to city staff to review the proposed regulations and compare them with other ordinances across the state. They will then bring their recommendations to the city council for review.
Council President Randy Staver told the Med City Beat on Tuesday that the council has been briefed on the issue and members "are open to listening" although there is "no commitment at this time." He called the conversation between Uber, Reeves and City Attorney Terry Adkins "fairly high level."
There's no timetable for when the council will take up the issue.
Uber — which operates in more than 300 cities worldwide — already offers service in the Twin Cities metro. In response, St. Paul and Minneapolis have adopted their own set of regulations for the company. Among the rules: requiring the company to provide $1 million in auto insurance for its drivers, who work as independent contractors not employees.
Rochester's existing ordinance requires a taxicab franchise license, preventing companies like Uber and Lyft from offering service in the area.