Helena approves ride-sharing ordinance

Published 4:48 pm Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The city of Helena will now allow transportation network companies such as Uber to operate within city limits. (Contributed)

The city of Helena will now allow transportation network companies such as Uber to operate within city limits. (Contributed)

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–Helena residents wishing to utilize ride-sharing companies such as Uber will now have the option to do so after the city approved such companies.

After the approval came for ride-sharing companies such as Uber to the city of Birmingham last month, the city of Helena made the decision to add Ordinance No. 836-16 to provide for transportation network companies and to amend the business license code to add such companies to the license schedule.

“The whole point of this thing was to get the so called Uber regulation in so if any spill over came here they could get a license if there was a need for it,” Helena Mayor Mark Hall said at the Jan. 11 Helena Council Meeting.

When accessing a map of the Birmingham area on Uber’s website, Helena now shows as one of the approved cities.

“They actually have us as already approved,” said Helena Councilman Mike Jones. “Thanks to the mayor for jumping on this because it’s good to see that we’re listed as one of those approved cities and staying ahead of the game. I think this is a great service for our citizen’s and our community.”

As part of the ordinance, the business license code Section 23, Schedule X of city Ordinance No. 734-07 will be further amended to state “for each Transportation Network Company, the fee set forth shall be $500.”

However, Section 1 of the 836-16 ordinance states, “Individual TNC drivers shall not be required to pay such fee, license tax, or license fee, nor shall they be required to obtain a commercial permit or license from the city.”

The city of Helena will not allow individuals to act as a TNC driver if they have committed any of the following violations:

  • They have been convicted within the past seven years of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, fraud, sexual offenses, use of a motor vehicle to commit a felony, a crime involving property damage or theft.
  • Are a match in the National Sex Offender public website.
  • Have accumulated more than three moving violations or a major driving violation.
  • One who does not possess a valid driver’s license, proof of registration or liability insurance or is under the age of 19.

Each TNC is also required to conduct background checks on any and all potential TNC drivers.