The Carbondale City Council has opened discussions on relaxing rules for taxi licenses and drivers for Uber and Lyft, with an aim to improve the availability of public transport.
City Manager Gary Williams said at the Aug. 9 meeting that the city is looking to eliminate the licensing of ride-share drivers, and let the companies like Uber and Lyft "police themselves." He said the city currently has four licensed taxicab services and one licensed Uber driver.
Steve Quinn, president of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, told the council that there are gaps in Carbondale's public transportation, particularly between the hours of 1 and 3 a.m. after the bars close. He said public transport needs to be improved, especially ahead of the 2024 eclipse, which is expected to bring tourists to the region.
Quinn said Uber's system of vetting drivers works. "The system does police itself," by rewarding good drivers with high ratings. He added that Uber has designated Carbondale an "Uber community," the only one south of Champaign-Urbana.
There was disagreement about the scrapping of the city's Title IX transportation code, especially with regards to taxicabs. Council member Adam Loos said he would not be in favor of rescinding Title IX altogether.
Cory Scales, owner of Quality Cab, told the council that while he complies with the taxi licensing, which includes inspection of his vehicle, there are many unlicensed cab companies popping up on social media, undercutting his business.