UPDATE: After a lengthy debate in the Jefferson Parish Council chambers today, council members approved an ordinance regulating Uber and Lyft in Jefferson Parish. Uber will have to follow the same standards as taxis in the parish, such as drug-testing and vehicle inspections. Uber officials say it's a compromise that will allow the company to continue operating in Jefferson Parish.
GRETNA, La. (WGNO) - A Jefferson Parish Council meeting is underway. Council members are trying to figure out what the parish will do with Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing companies.
The matter has been under debate for months, and Wednesday morning, the council was supposed to discuss three ordinances. But Tuesday Uber asked for a deferral on all proposals. They want this legislation to be made at the state level.
They argue that that the current Jefferson Parish proposals are inconsistent with nearby parishes and communities, and that would be a problem for drivers and riders.
"In Louisiana, 64 or more different standards is not advantageous to either the parishes or the businesses," Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta, an Uber supporter, said. "The fact is that [Uber] in Louisiana could have to operate under as many as 368 different municipal or parish ordinances if a statewide regulation is not adopted."
Three months ago , the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce stepped in and started holding round table discussions with both sides.
Chamber president Todd Murphy told WGNO the main conflicts between Uber and cab drivers are over drug-testing policies, background checks, licenses, insurance, inspections, ride fees and the number of cabs (There's currently 304, and Jefferson Parish has a population of roughly 430,000 people).
There's also disagreements on how to serve the community.
The chamber sent a statement on possible compromises, but Murphy said he's not sure if both sides are happy with the current ordinances and what will happen following Tuesday's deferral request.