Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Uber is almost legit in Jackson

Uber moved one step closer to being "legal" in Jackson.  The Rules Committee of the Jackson City Council passed an ordinance yesterday allowing Uber and other "transportation-network" companies to operate in Jackson. The ordinance will treat these companies differently than taxi cab companies.

The highlights of the ordinance* are:

*The transportation network company will pay a registration fee of $2,500.
*Drivers must pass background checks and drug tests.
*Vehicles must pass an annual inspection. Fee is $62.50
*Pricing must be transparent.  Company must disclose pricing before customer incurs any fees.
*Driver must be 21 years of age
*Driver must possess a regular or commercial driver's license for at least one year prior to application.  Driver must submit fingerprints to JPD.
*Driver can't be convicted of DUI, fraud, sexual offenses, acts of violence, or using a vehicle to commit a felony within the last seven years.  Drive can't appear on a sex offender registry.
*Driver can not be convicted of at least three moving violations within two years.
*Driver must obtain a medical exam and certification from doctor he can safely operate a vehicle.
*Auto insurance requirement. Proof shall be carried at all times.
*Committee or Chief of Police can suspend permit it notified driver poses a danger to public.
*Penalties.  Everyone loves penalties.  City fines for company: First offense: $500, Second offense: $1,000, Third offense: $2,000.  City fines for driver: $350 for first offense and $500 for each offense thereafter.

The ordinance passed the committee.  The city council will discuss the proposed ordinance at the December 15 meeting.

Kingfish note: One thing that was interesting was no representatives of Uber ever appeared at any of the discussions of the "Uber ordinance" by the Rules Committee.  Sydney Allen of Butler Snow is the registered lobbyist yet he has been strangely absent from the halls of city hall.

The city still has a taxicab ordinance on the books.  To say it is anti-competitive in nature is putting it mildly.  It is no wonder that the taxicab companies are fighting any change in anything.  Check out some sections of 126:

(a) The following fares shall be charged by taxicabs. The maximum fare shall not exceed $3.00 for the first one-tenth mile or fraction thereof and $3.00 for each additional mile thereafter.

(1) For each additional person who is five years of age or older and who is group riding, the maximum charge of the metered fare shall not exceed $1.00. Provided, however, said maximum shall not exceed $3.00 for trips to/from the Jackson Evers International Airport.

(2) Waiting or delay time shall not exceed $23.00 per hour or a fraction thereof. (KF: not much price competition. City sets the fees.).  ....

(a) Limousines, not to exceed $75.00/hour, per vehicle. A limousine service may not charge fares based upon fractions of an hour except after the first hour of service.

Those are the fares. The taxicab companies get to have some say on who their competitors can be:

Transportation permit and review committee (committee): A committee comprised of the following city personnel and transportation service industry representatives: two representatives from the department of planning and Development, with one serving as chairperson, one representative from the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority; two representatives from the police department; and, two representatives from the transportation service industry (one from taxicab companies and one from limousine companies, with no one company serving a consecutive year). One representative from the legal department, shall serve on the committee in an advisory capacity. (5 members)
Hourly requirements:

 A taxicab company shall keep its office staffed 24 hours a day with at least one person for the purpose of receiving calls and dispatching taxicabs.
So much for working when you choose.  Company has to hire a certain number of employees just to be open a full day. Here is my favorite:

(13) Taxicab companies shall maintain at least eight vehicles for hire under their company name for which a CPNC license has been issued, or the number of vehicles operated by the company as of the effective date of these articles, if less than eight.

Can't get a license unless you have at least eight cabs.  DC Cab, anyone? Suppose a guy works as a cab driver for ten years.  He saves his money.  His family gives him more money and he can buy his own cab.  Tough luck.  He needs to buy seven more.  It is a law that protects the few as there are only five companies licenses to do operate taxis in Jackson.  No wonder one owner was protesting any changes in the law.  Sweet deal is a sweet deal.  She gets a regulated price. She gets to decide who her competition can be.  She also benefits from a law that makes it very hard for someone to enter the business.

The current law hurts minorities and the poor. It prevents price competition and prevents them from opening their own companies.  Uber has democratized the process.  It is hard to feel sorry for the favored five when they have worked so hard for so long to enjoy a monopoly.  However, city council members told this correspondent they recognize the flaws in the taxicab ordinance and are going to change it. 

One other thing.  There is a reason there is no Uber debate in the burbs: They don't require licenses for taxi services. 

*New code section will be Section 126.501-510 in the Jackson municipal code.


Anonymous said...

I regularly use Uber in other cities and often have both vendors and customers flying in to Jackson for meetings. Some of our taxi drivers are actually good according to out-of-town colleagues.

Still, it's been embarrassing not to be able to have Uber do pick-ups at the airport and it makes us look even smaller time than we are. However, I just checked the Uber app and it looks like you can request airport pick-up now, so that's progress.

Don't forget that taxi drivers can sign up on Uber, too. Of course, drivers (and passengers) get rated on the app. I suspect that's the source of at least some push back.

Anonymous said...

It would be great if Uber could do airport pickups. I quit using cabs the day we got Uber in Jackson. It cost around $40 (before tip) for 2 people to travel the 4 miles from Fondren to NE Jackson. With Uber it's always around $14. Nicer drivers, nicer cars, and nicer prices. Big fan of Uber.

Anonymous said...

The proposed ordinance places substantial new economic hurdles in front of Uber's independent contractor drivers that will reduce their profitability. These concessions by the city are a major win for the taxi cab companies.

Anonymous said...

I love using uber. Right move for Jackson. Why they would hire Butler Snow is beyond me. Good job, Jackson.

Anonymous said...

Wonder how much money Uber threw away using S. Allen on this project? kF- does he SOS report list it?

Anonymous said...

Who is this Sydney Allen guy at Butler Snow? Another of Barbour's minions?

Anonymous said...

Huge fan of Uber. Kingfish keep us updated if we need to rally the troops to keep Uber here. Although not sure how much we can do with our noneffective council member from NE Jxsn.

Anonymous said...

I now use uber to deliver my drug dealer to my house in Madison. The neighbors are happier than ever now that a newer model car arrives carrying Cheby with his good dope. I used to have to drive late at night to Jackson to meet up with Cheby near a tire and rim store to buy my weed (I have glacouma and hemmaroids). I even get Cheby to stop by my favorite Jackson restaurants and pick up some food to go before he delivers my weed via uber.

Alpha Storm said...

more government control.

Anonymous said...

It wont be long at all before a Jackson resident murders an Uber driver, and the company will leave the area entirely.

Anonymous said...

First thing Jackson has done in awhile. We need back on the Coast and in Oxford... This is the way of the future.

Anonymous said...

@11:58- how many taxi drivers have been murdered in Jackson?

Anonymous said...

$2500 one time fee + 1500 annual fee. The city council is making it so expensive that no one can afford to be an Uber driver.

Progress Not said...

So...we can't even get a damned airline to service the Jackson Evers Wiley Stokes International Medgar Pearl airport....and we're fiddle farting around with who can pick up a passenger at point A and take them to point B?


Kingfish said...

The fee is for uber only. They spend more than that on lawyers and lobbyists.

Also found out cab drivers are having to pay these cab companies to operate. True cartel.

Anonymous said...

Haley couldn't save Butler Snow from getting screwed on this deal? Or did the firm not even know its client was getting the shaft? They (Butler Snow) must be too busy shoving common core down our children's throats.

Anonymous said...

Smith, who owns Yellow Cab, is one of the most shadiest characters you will ever meet....yet he is allowed to continue to operate in Jackson.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish do you really believe that Uber just absorbs the various regulatory fees and administrative costs coming out of municipalities and jurisdictions all over America?

C'mon man!

Anonymous said...

Kingfish, the cab drivers are independent contractors. The drivers basically rent the cab company's car for a day, provide their own insurance, pay for the gas, etc. At the end of the shift the cab driver pays a portion of their earnings/tips to the cab operator and the driver keeps what ever is left over. A lot of other businesses operate this way, but from other articles in the Clarion Ledger over the years, the cab operators take almost all of the profits from the drivers. A few years ago one cab driver was complaining to the CL that he was only making $5 a day after paying the operator.

Kingfish said...


Makes the favored Five even more favored.

Anonymous said...

I travel nearly 40 weeks out of the year and use transportation services to avoid paying the exorbitant parking fees at the airport. I can accurately state that the taxi service in Jackson sucks - every driver I've had has been an asshole, their cars are filthy and they act as though my fare is a waste of their time. I once made a reservation for a taxi to pick me up for an early flight a week before I was to depart, and re-confirmed the day before and the taxi didn't show up, when I called the taxi company they didn't seem to give a shit - I nearly missed my flight and had to pay over $300.00 for parking for an extended out of town engagement. I live 7 miles from the airport and the typical fare was close to $40.00. The taxi cartel is just pissed that the market has evolved beyond their business model, and rather than improve their service, they look for ways to sabotage the competition.

Along comes Uber - which I use everywhere I travel - they provide reliable, clean transportation, with polite and professional drivers. Their prices are about half of the cab cartel, and best of all - THEY SHOW UP!

The Mayor was the first Uber rider in Jackson and made a big deal out of how cool Jackson was becoming because we had Uber (and Whole Foods - sorry, I couldn't resist), but I suppose the city council doesn't understand how healthy competition works, or they are being paid off by the cab companies...

Perhaps the folks at the airport should also look into the security officer who also works as a cab driver, I've heard how he harasses Uber drivers who are dropping off passengers - way to represent the bold new city!

Folks - let the market work and let the customers decide who succeeds and who fails...

Anonymous said...

What's the cost of Uber from Madison to the airport?

L.A. Inter.National.Air.Port said...

Rudy's International Airport in Madison County was on track to derail all these issues.

Anonymous said...

I recently visited Providence, RI. Cab fare to the airport was $35. Uber fare was $15-16. I LOVE UBER!

Anonymous said...

I thought I heard on the news yesterday that there was a one time $5,000 registration fee and $2,500 annual operating license fee for each Uber DRIVER (not just the company). Am I wrong? If not, that seems way out of line. I thought a lot of the Uber drivers were retired folks or college kids trying to make a few extra bucks. If so, then high fees like this will keep them out of the market, it seems to me. What am I missing?

Jonathan Grice said...

There has been no update on the Cease and Desist letter that I received earlier this year in September from the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority. The story can be found at From that day, I refuse to accept requests from the Jackson Airport to avoid the headache dealing with "Airport Security" who handed me the letter. The Airport Police Chief Terry Miller denies any association to the letter saying that it is Airport Security that is enforcing the Order.
So, Uber drivers is not allowed to pick up passengers at the Airport in Jackson, MS. Uber also replied to my inquiry by saying that it is at the driver's discretion to pick up there and that in doing so, Uber would reimburse the driver for any fees or penalties the airport charged the driver. Many drivers has boasted about not being confronted by Security and still picks up riders from the Airport. A couple drivers has even said that they also received the same letter but there was no way the JMAA could enforce the Order and couldn't make them leave the property so those drivers still pick up passengers there regardless.
When you open the Uber Passenger App and view the Jackson Airport, at times there is an increasing amount of Uber Vehicles on property patrolled by JMAA and it's only an amount of time until they are discovered and banned.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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