Council takes first step to rewriting rules for cabs, Uber

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Taxicabs and ride sharing services like Uber will face fewer city restrictions when it comes to setting fares and even passing inspections.

That's after the Cedar Rapids City Council took the first step to level the playing field for all transportation companies on Tuesday.

The council passed the first reading of an ordinance that would repeal the current city rules governing how cab companies and other transportation services operate.

One reason for making the change is new state rules, effective January 1st, that give the Iowa DOT authority over the licensing requirements.

The city says the new rules will treat the ride sharing services, traditional taxis and even shuttle services alike.

Cedar Rapids would no long set "not to exceed" meter rates for cabs and cab companies would not even be required to use meters and would only have to post fares for customers.

There would be changes in required vehicle inspections and fewer rules overall.

Brad DeBrower, Cedar Rapids Transit Director, described some other differences.

"They don't have to be physically located in the city of Cedar Rapids, they don't have to have a set number of drivers or set the hours they think are most beneficial. They're going to have the same level of insurance requirements," DeBrower said.

No one spoke at the council meeting about the proposed changes that would impact Uber, taxicabs and even bicycle-powered pedicabs.

The resolution must pass twice more before it takes effect. It would go into effect April 3rd.