Alabaster sets public hearing on Uber

Published 10:33 am Thursday, February 11, 2016

Alabaster is considering allowing ridesharing companies, such as Uber, to operate in the city. (Contributed)

Alabaster is considering allowing ridesharing companies, such as Uber, to operate in the city. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Local residents will have a chance later this month to voice their opinions on allowing ridesharing companies to operate in the city, and the City Council likely will vote on the matter the same night.

During its Feb. 8 meeting, the City Council set a public hearing for Feb. 22 on adding a section to the city’s business license ordinances covering “transportation network companies,” which would cover popular ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft.

The public hearing will be held during the council’s regular meeting, which will begin at 7 p.m. at Alabaster City Hall at 1953 Municipal Way.

Through such services, customers are able to use a smartphone app to find and schedule rides from drivers authorized to take part in the ridesharing company. Most ridesharing drivers use their personal vehicles to transport riders.

Through the proposed business license amendments, ridesharing companies would pay $500 per year to purchase a license to operate in Alabaster, which is similar to other area cities.

Taxi companies are already covered under Alabaster’s current business license ordinances, and government-owned transportation companies would be exempt from the ridesharing guidelines.

If Alabaster agrees to allow ridesharing companies to operate in the city, it will follow Helena and Hoover, both of which have already amended their business license structures to cover the companies. Pelham also is considering allowing ridesharing companies.

As proposed, the Alabaster guidelines would require ridesharing drivers to undergo background checks and hold insurance coverage, among other requirements. Individuals on the National Sex Offender Registry and who have been convicted of certain felonies would be prohibited from driving for ridesharing companies.

Under the proposed Alabaster guidelines, drivers must be at least 19 years old and must not have more than three minor or one major driving violations in the previous three years