Monroe city officials are finally getting into the Uber/Lyft conversation that has been a hot topic among local residents for quite some time now. If you have ever traveled to larger cities, such as New Orleans or Baton Rouge, you can find these great TNCs (transportation network company). Their ease of use, quality of service, unmatched convenience, and cost effectiveness are their biggest selling points. In a city with unreliable taxi services and a growing downtown night life, TNC services are becoming a necessity for Monroe.
KNOE recently reported via facebook that Michael Echols and other city officials are beginning to look into allowing Uber, Lyft, and other TNC services into the city. Mr. Echols noted that some tweaking needed to be done to the current city ordinance and that he was in favor of bringing these companies to the city. One of the local taxi companies also showed support for Uber/Lyft by stating that competition would be good for everyone.
To add to this exciting news, Shreveport has recently passed an ordinance to allow TNC companies into the area. Chris Lyon of Heliopolis wrote a great article highlighting the key points of the ordinance as well as advocating the city's need for these companies. The ordinance provides a list of requirements including city and licensing fees, liability insurance, and specific driving permits/licenses to name a few. The ordinance passed unanimously, and it is a great leap towards getting the city on the Uber/Lyft grid. The next step for Shreveport is to start the conversation with TNCs and get the proper paperwork filled out so that eager residents can sign up and start driving.
The current state of Monroe sets up Uber and Lyft's main source of revenue to come from local residents and out of town travelers meandering to and from bars and restaurants on the weekend. Hailing a taxi is nearly impossible and results in ridiculous fares and long wait times, walking even a short distance of a mile or two can be dangerous (especially with the recent surge of break-ins in the Garden District), and biking can also be dangerous with the lack of bike lanes and a general close-minded attitude towards sharing the road. Drinking and driving has become somewhat of a problem in the city, an option too many people feel is their only one. This fact alone brings all the weight to the term "necessary" when describing the need for TNCs presence in this town.
Our local businesses, especially downtown, are growing and becoming an amazing hub for college students and young professionals to socialize, which is a win-win for the consumers, the small business owners, and the city. Allowing for TNC services to become active will increase jobs, city safety, local business profits, and overall residents' satisfaction with the city of Monroe.
With plenty of examples available to guide the city towards writing and passing an ordinance, I encourage those involved to move forward with this project as a priority and to help further develop Monroe, a city with great potential.