Cab companies, rideshare apps and city officials come together t - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Cab companies, rideshare apps and city officials come together to discuss ongoing dispute

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Madison (WKOW)-- The debate about rideshare companies operating in Madison appears to have hit its boiling point. Earlier this week the Madison Police Department ticketed two drivers working for ridesharing companies. The tickets cost them more than a thousand dollars a piece. Representatives from both Uber and Lyft say their respective companies will pay for all fines that are given to their drivers in the city of Madison.

The controversial topic was discussed during an open forum Tuesday afternoon organized by the Wisconsin Innovation Network. Local business leaders and entrepreneurs wanted to know more about the two companies coming to town and the companies hoped to clear the air about the recent controversy.

"We want to work with the city to come to a good long term solution. We sent an e-mail to the city before we began operating and I think there's a lot of misinformation about us pushing our way into the city," Uber's Wisconsin General Manager Nick Anderson says.

The controversy lies in the fact that both Uber and Lyft drivers are operating in the city limits without adhering to several regulations. Both the Madison City Attorney and Mayor Paul Soglin say both Uber and Lyft fall into the city's definition of a taxi cab company and are subject to following the law. Some of the regulations include having drivers on the road 24 hours a day 365 days a year, not refusing service to any customer and clearly marking rates on the side of their cars. They're the same regulations that govern traditional taxi cab companies like Green Cab, who sent a representative to the forum.

"The regulations are there for a reason. That's just part of the cost of doing business and not simply a cost in terms of monetary costs, but a cost of being good citizens," General Manager Phil Anderson says.

Madison Alder Scott Resnick was the fourth speaker during the forum. He's one of the city officials leading the discussion towards creating a compromise.

"When drivers start getting fined over a thousand dollars a pop, it does escalate the conversation," Resnick says.

It's a conversation that pits new against old business models, but one that aims to find a solution that can fit both.

"We have a lot of people using their personal vehicles. It isn't a full-time job. It's not full-time professional drivers. It's people like you and me who maybe choose to do it for one hour a week," Lyft Government Affairs Manager Candice Taylor says.

The issue of rideshare companies is currently being discussed in the transit and parking commission. Alder Resnick says it could still be a few more months before a recommendation is given to the common council. Until then, the Madison Police Department says there may be additional stings to cite drivers in the coming weeks.

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Madison (WKOW)-- Two mobile ridesharing companies are trying get their footing in the Madison area. Both Uber and Lyft have been operating in the city for a few weeks now and have been met with praise and controversy.

Madison cab companies have argued that both companies provide the same service as traditional taxicab companies, but aren't following several of the city's mandated regulations. City officials agree and have instructed the police department to start issuing citations. As of right now two citations have been made that total more than a thousand dollars each.

On Tuesday April 22nd, all of the parties involved in this disagreement will come together for a lengthy discussion. The Wisconsin Innovation Network is hosting a special event where they invited representatives from all sides of the issue. Each side will explain their position and will field questions from the audience. Organizers of the event say the purpose is to find a solution that can benefit everyone. They are trying to figure out if the city of Madison has room for these new services and if they should be regulated the same way as traditional cab companies.

Tonight on WKOW 27 News at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m, hear how the discussions went and what was decided during today's event.




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