By Leah Thorsen
St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission has filed suit against Uber Technologies and is seeking a restraining order to bar the ride-hailing company from operating in the city and in St. Louis County.
The commission on Sept. 18 voted to allow ride-hailing services such as UberX, an app-based service in which drivers use their own cars to ferry passengers. But it mandated that drivers be fingerprinted as part of a criminal background check and possess a class E Missouri commercial driver’s license, also known as a chauffeur’s license.
The commission said those requirements are mandated by state law, but Uber described them as onerous burdens for its drivers, many of whom drive less than six hours a week. It launched its service that same day in defiance of the regulations.
Its drivers went through Uber’s background checks, but not fingerprint checks. The company also filed a federal lawsuit against the taxi commission alleging anti-competitive practices in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
A state law specific to St. Louis and St. Louis County requires vehicle-for-hire drivers to undergo the fingerprint checks.
Cabdrivers must undergo drug tests, vehicle inspections and get notes from doctors to prove they’re in good health.
“These requirements are mandated by state statute, and are not subject to the discretion of the MTC,” the commission said in a statement Wednesday.
Uber’s suit last month sought a temporary restraining order to allow the ride-hailing service to operate freely and without any commission regulations for two weeks. A federal judge denied that request, but did not rule on the merits of the case.
In its lawsuit, the San Francisco-based company is seeking to prevent the taxi commission from conducting its allegedly anti-competitive practices. Uber has said St. Louis is the largest metropolitan area in the country not to allow UberX.