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Paving the way for Uber and Lyft in Galesburg

Raysonho via Wikimedia Commons
Raysonho via Wikimedia Commons

The city of Galesburg is looking to pave the way for ride share drivers from companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in town.

Uber announced in 2020 it was expanding to west central Illinois and is active in communities such as Macomb.

But there currently are no ride share drivers operating in Galesburg.

City Manager Eric Hanson said the city’s current code requires the transportation network companies to register with the city, then for the drivers to be licensed by the city.

But it doesn’t currently require ride share drives to acquire a license from the companies.

Hanson said City Clerk Kelli Bennewitz researched how other cities license ride share drivers, and the city is now proposing some changes.

Instead of the companies registering with the city, the process would begin with drivers getting approval from the companies.

“The amendment to the ordinance will allow for the drivers themselves to submit their applications, to go through the appropriate background check, and upon approval, register with both the operator as well as with the city,” Hanson said.

The city council considered the amendment on first reading Monday and it will come for a vote next month.

“Obviously we feel like this will encourage and certainly simplify the process and allow these services to operate within the city,” Hanson.

Another proposed change is the license fee. Instead of the companies paying $1,500 to operate in Galesburg, drivers would pay a $100 license fee.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Jane Carlson is TSPR's regional reporter.