The West Richland City Council wants more information before it adopts vehicle-for-hire rules that would govern taxi services and ride-hailing services such as Uber that can only be summoned online.
At this week’s meeting, the council decided not to adopt a code modeled on the one adopted by Kennewick late last year. Instead, it sent the matter to its three-member finance committee for more review. The committee is expected to make recommendations to the council at a future date.
The move was the second set-back this week for dreams of uninterrupted area-wide service from the San Francisco-based service. The Pasco City Council voted Monday not to amend its existing taxi codes to accommodate the company when it disagreed over whether drivers should be fingerprinted. Uber has called that requirement a deal-killer.
Pasco’s decision means Uber drivers may not collect passengers in the city, including at the Tri-Cities Airport.
That’s not the case in West Richland. Since the city does not currently regulate vehicles-for-hire, Uber-authorized drivers may operate there, as well as the unincorporated areas of Benton and Franklin counties and most smaller cities.
Uber has a license to operate in Kennewick but has not yet secured one for Richland. Both cities amended their taxi codes to accommodate Uber in 2016. For the time being, that means passengers in Richland and Pasco have to rely on traditional taxis.