Uber and Lyft operating in Carbondale, city says illegally - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Uber and Lyft operating in Carbondale, city says illegally

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CARBONDALE -- You can now get picked up by Uber or Lyft in Carbondale, but the city says the companies are violating its laws.

The city amended part of its current ordinance to accommodate the companies, but the new rules don't take effect until April 1. These companies are now arguing they have every right to offer you a ride without the city's permission until the end of the month. 

We talked with the driver who said he didn’t know he'd been operating illegally. He says Uber sent him an email telling him it launched in Carbondale, but city leaders insist on background checks and licensing and until they get them, these drivers violate the law and pose a potential threat to riders.

"We want to make sure when they step in that vehicle, they feel safe and that we know those drivers are safe. They've met certain standards," said Carbondale Public Relations Officer Amy Fox.

The Uber driver told us said he already went through background checks with the company. He didn't know he'd have to do it again with the city of Carbondale. 

"I've done the background check, the vehicle, your drive history. It takes a week and a half to be an Uber driver, its pretty legit, like everybody can't drive," said the Uber driver, who didn't want to be named. 

Carbondale plans to charge $45 for the background check and have a mechanic do a safety inspection on the vehicle. If it all checks out, they'll get a sticker for their car and a license to show their certification to drive within the city. 

Uber and Lyft argue they don't need city certification until April 1, because Illinois regulations cover them until a city ordinance takes effect. Carbondale says these drivers can get tickets if police catch them operating, and too many of those tickets can get them banned.

Carbondale will have applications online and at the city clerk's office in the next couple of weeks for anyone wanting to apply.

Processing will take two to three days. Then drivers can legally drive in Carbondale April 1.

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