Loophole Leaves Lyft, Uber Drivers Vulnerable For Tickets
by Chris Conte
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A loophole in Metro Nashville's transportation law means drivers of popular ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber could be issued citations for not having the proper permits to carry passengers, who pay for their rides.
According to Metro Code 6.74.100, all "for hire" passengers vehicles operating in Davidson County must have an "F" for hire endorsement on their license and commercial plates when carrying passengers.
As it stands, the Metro Transportation Licensing Commission is not currently issuing permits to drivers of cars services like Lyft and Uber mainly because county officials said they haven't had a chance to draft legislation that properly regulates the new services.
"We're moving as fast as we can; unfortunately, there's lots of fine detail and we want make sure to do it right the first time," explained Metro Licensing Commission Director Billy Fields. "We are working on some legislation which would bring them (ride share services) under some regulatory authority, which would make them very similar to other vehicles for hire, limousines and other services in Nashville."
Ride share service Lyft told NewsChannel 5 two of their drivers have been cited in the last few weeks for not having the proper permits to operate as a "for hire" driving service.
"We certainly are not trying to scare anybody off but we do want to make sure anyone transporting people in Davidson county is done safely," Fields adds.
Metro Nashville Police said they are not specifically targeting drivers of Lyft and Uber cars but if someone is pulled over for a different moving violation, they could also be ticketed for not having proper permits.
Fields said he hopes revised legislation will be in front of the City Council by May or June to allow ride-share services to operate legally in Nashville. Until that point, drivers risk being cited.
"I can't say they won't they won't be pulled over," he said.
Lyft sent NewsChannel 5 this statement about the issue:
"We are aware of a couple citations of Lyft drivers in Nashville. We have responded immediately to provide support to these drivers and we are also covering the cost of the citations and any necessary legal assistance. We're always committed to supporting the Lyft community, especially as we work through challenges at the city and state levels. While we do not believe that Lyft drivers are violating any current city law, our team is working with the city to answer questions about Lyft's peer-to-peer business model and look forward to identifying a path forward that will allow ridesharing to thrive in Nashville."