New Missouri law overrides city rules, might bring Lyft back to KC

Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft will face new statewide regulations in Missouri.
Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft will face new statewide regulations in Missouri. The Associated Press

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens signed into law Monday statewide regulations for ride-hailing companies. Uber is already operating in Kansas City. A Lyft statement issued after the bill signing suggested the company may return to the city to compete with Uber.

The new law requires app-based companies to conduct driver background checks and pay a licensing fee.

The law will also exempt such companies from local and municipal taxes, and require drivers to submit to background checks and to buy vehicle liability insurance.

Uber and Lyft say the law will allow them to expand throughout the state.

Similar legislation has stalled in past years over concerns about local ordinances governing the app-based services. The current version includes compromise provisions that allow airports to charge ride-hailing service drivers the same fees as taxis and allows St. Louis and Kansas City to audit drivers.

Kansas City’s rules on such businesses required fingerprint-based FBI criminal background checks on all drivers. The state law would override those city rules.

In November, Lyft began operating in Johnson and Wyandotte counties after Kansas changed the rules regulating ride-hailing services.

In the wake of Missouri’s action, Lyft said in an email it “is working with local communities to launch (before the new law takes effect Aug. 28) to ensure more Missourians can enjoy the many benefits of Lyft. We are currently working on expansion plans and hope to announce those soon.”

Uber already operates in Kansas City. Lyft was less willing to go along with the city’s regulations and pulled out of the city in 2014.

Scott Canon: 816-234-4754, @ScottCanon