Council passes TNC ordinance, clearing way for Uber to operate in Rochester
Uber has been given the green light to begin operating in Rochester.
The city council voted unanimously Monday night to approve a new ordinance regulating transportation network companies (TNCs). The decision, which follows months of public debate and testimony, still requires a second reading from the council at its regularly-scheduled meeting on Jan. 4.
Prior to taking the vote, council members said an outpouring of community support played heavily into their decision to push the issue forward.
"A lot of these decisions were made because we got a lot of interaction from our people," said Councilor Mark Bilderback. "We need to thank the people of Rochester for the fact that they do care and they do participate."
Uber officials were not on hand for Monday's vote. However, a representative for the company said last month the app could go live within a couple weeks of the ordinance's formal adoption, depending on how many drivers sign up.
Earlier in the afternoon, at the request of Councilor Mark Hickey, the council went over the ordinance line by line and made minor revisions. None are likely to interfere with Uber's plans to launch service in Rochester.
"It is what the people of Rochester want," said Hickey.
The council agreed to reevaluate the ordinance after one year. Thus far, Uber is the only company to express a desire to move into the Rochester market.
In anticipation of increased competition from TNCs, local cab companies have asked the council to loosen regulations on the taxi industry. The topic is likely to come up at the council's next Committee of the Whole meeting on Dec. 12.
Note: The ordinance passed 6-0; Councilor Ed Hruska was not in attendance.
Follow Sean on Twitter.
(Cover graphic: Uber / Med City Beat)