Port Angeles OKs ordinance allowing rideshares

Uber, Lyft have inquired about operations

PORT ANGELES — City lawmakers have passed an ordinance to allow rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in Port Angeles.

The City Council voted 6-0 Tuesday on a code change to regulate transportation network companies, or TNCs, the same as taxi services.

Companies like Uber and Lyft have inquired about operating in Port Angeles but have been unwilling to comply with a 1980 for-hire licensing code that was designed to regulate taxis, City Attorney Bill Bloor said in a memo to the council.

In a first reading of the ordinance Aug. 6, Bloor said the new law “simplified a lot of the processes” for all for-hire vehicle companies.

The adopted version of the ordinance incorporated a change suggested by Lyft to allow TNC drivers to own or lease their for-hire vehicle.

“Apart from that, this is basically the same ordinance that was considered at the first meeting,” Bloor told the council Tuesday.

“It is based on a number of Washington cities’ ordinances. It has essentially the same language, the same provisions.”

The Port Angeles ordinance was largely based on laws recently adopted in Bellingham, Pasco, Pullman, Richland, Spokane, Tacoma, Yakima and Vancouver, Bloor said.

“They’re all in the last three years and pretty similar — not identical, but similar provisions,” Bloor said.

City staff offered an earlier draft of the ordinance in July 2018.

“Numerous questions, concerns and issues were raised about that draft; and that ordinance was abandoned,” Bloor said in a memo.

The new draft uses a newer system that was modeled on codes elsewhere in the state, Bloor said.

Under the approved ordinance, the fee for businesses to obtain a for-hire license, whether taxi or TNC, is $50 per year.

All for-hire vehicles must be inspected by a qualified mechanic and rideshare companies are required to document vehicle inspections.

Drivers must have a clean driving record, a background check and insurance.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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