Competition among traditional taxicab companies and newer ride-hailing services such as Uber has heated up in recent months in Kansas City.
So has the rhetoric, and the disputes do not appear to be over.
Like many cities across the country, Kansas City has been working on new rules to govern passenger-carrying services. Last week, city management officials released revised ordinances on the vehicle-for-hire issue.
The rules will encourage more drivers to participate in ride-hailing by lowering annual permit fees from $300 to $250. Swifter reviews of paperwork are being promised. But parts of the ordinances dealing with how drivers are licensed still displeased at least one Uber official.
The City Council is not close to voting on the issue. Instead, before proceeding, it will take public comments at www.kcmomentum.org into March.
The Star supports increasing competition in this field. Use of taxicabs and ride-hailing services makes it convenient to get around town —to hotels, the airport, restaurants, bars or even home. Ride-hailing passengers often use a smartphone app to summon drivers, who usually operate their own vehicles.
However, some regulation must be maintained in the name of public safety. The city is responsible for making sure passengers are driving in safe vehicles, that background checks are done on drivers, vehicles are adequately insured and appropriate fees are charged.
In recent interviews with The Star, Yellow Cab and Uber officials did agree on this much: They said Kansas City would benefit from having more vehicles for hire on the road.
One good way to reach that goal is for City Hall to establish a minimum number of strict rules that best protect the public.