Cab drivers concerned as Minneapolis considers Uber X, Lyft - KMSP-TV

Cab drivers concerned as Minneapolis considers legalizing Uber X, Lyft

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There's a major battle brewing on the streets of Minneapolis involving who is -- and who is not -- allowed to give customers a lift around the city, and it could affect a lot of drivers.

The dispute focuses mainly on companies that allow people to use their personal vehicle to offer rides to those who request one over an app. One is called Uber X and another is called Lyft, and both are illegal in Minneapolis. Taxis are, obviously, legal -- but drivers are worried about what may happen to their business if the apps get the green light.

Abdikarin Farah has an American dream to own his own taxi. Not his own taxi company, just his own taxi.

"That's my dream," he told Fox 9 News.

For now, Farah rents the cab he drives for Blue and White Taxi -- but his dream is getting harder to see. The Somali immigrant used to work 5 days a week, but now, he works 12 hours a day 7 days a week to support his wife and four young children.

At Blue and White Taxi's dispatch center, the calls are coming in less frequently. In part, that's because of companies like Uber X and Lyft, whose drivers give rides using their own personal vehicles and do not have to follow taxi rules.

The current code specifies limits on the age of cars, insurance requirements, training, license fees and more. All of that costs cab drivers money that Uber X and Lyft drivers don't have to pay -- for now.

City Councilman Jacob Frey and other council members are currently working on an ordinance to address cab concerns while legalizing Uber X and Lyft.

"We want to get as much public debate as possible," Frey said. "We don't want to ram it down anyone's throat."

Minneapolis will hold a public hearing on April 29 to discuss the issue, and they may have a draft ordinance finished by Friday.

An Uber spokesperson said more choice is good for customers and added that Taxi drivers are always welcome to become Uber drivers if they can afford a decent car.

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