SHREVEPORT, La. - The City of Shreveport is still hopeful that ride sharing services will come to the area.
Initially, the city did exchange communication with the ride sharing companies, but it was right around the time of the 2017 legislative session. Talks slowed as both the city and the companies looked to see if there would be any state wide legislation before following up on municipal level ordinances. Since nothing came into fruition, the ride sharing services would again look to city governments for regulation. Shreveport is hopeful they will begin hearing back from Uber and Lyft.
Another factor in the equation, while it has not been expressly stated, when companies start advertising for drivers that's a good sign they are looking at the area, but sometimes they will not bring the service until the companies have enough drivers signed up to operate in the area. "For those people who want to see these services offered, a really great way to encourage them is to make sure they've downloaded the apps; that they've encouraged their friends to, and that anyone they know may be interested in being a driver has registered for it," said Shreveport City Councilman Jeff Everson.
The City of Shreveport has heard from Lyft directly. That communication was in regards to a specific clause, the Hold Harmless" portion of the agreement. Those are provisions that say drivers are responsible for their actions while they operate on city streets, and that Shreveport is not accountable for specific mishaps. It is something officials included to be sure ride sharing drivers would abide by the same kind of requirements that taxi and cab operators adhere to. "They had some questions about that, and I know they city provided some answers to them," said Everson. "I don't know that we heard feed back from them since then. We are still looking forward to some of these services becoming available but I think it's going to come down to there being a little bit of certainty within the market."
Uber did not follow up with KTBS contact, but Lyft says it is "in the process of working to obtain our permit with the city, but don't have any specific timeline to share at the moment."
For awhile Bossier City Council was in talks with the city attorney about ride sharing services operating in the area. After shreveport city council approved the necessary permits, bossier officals began discussions on how the ride sharing companies could operate fluidly between the two cities. However, nothing has come of that discussion dating back to February. They say they were waiting to see what came out of the legislative session.
The House & Governmental Affairs Committee approved House Bill 527, which would authorize the state, solely, to regulate the transportation network companies. Those that use occasional drivers to take riders where they want to go. Under the measure, the state would have collected one percent of the services' gross receipts, most of which would then be returned to local governments where the rides took place.
The bill passed in the house with 79 votes, however it was only considered by the senate and no law was passed.