Missouri Uber regulations means drivers must be licensed in each city

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COLUMBIA- Uber is now available in Columbia, St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield. If you plan to drive for the company in different cities in Missouri, you should check your qualifications and the application processes.

Columbia, which has had Uber since 2014, has stricter requirements to be a driver with the company. In fact, most city requirements to be a driver are tougher than the requirements for Uber.

“We do a criminal background check on the individual, their vehicle has to be inspected by the police department and it has to pass the inspection, of course,” said Janice Finley, City of Columbia business services manager.

That’s just the beginning of the process to drive for Uber in Columbia. Additionally, Finley said drivers have to show proof of insurance, then their pictures taken for an ID badge and a sticker is issued for the driver’s vehicle.

All of this means drivers have to pay fees for both Uber and the city. There are no state regulations for becoming an Uber driver.

Finley said unregistered drivers are contacted, with the help of the police department, to let violators know they need a City of Columbia Transportation Network Operator permit.

A number of bills this last legislative session would have created a more uniform standard for Transportation Networking Companies (TNCs), like Uber. HB 2330 and SB 991 would have made ridesharing companies apply for annual permits through the Missouri Department of Revenue and maintain insurance coverage requirements, among other things. State bills regulating TNCs means ridesharing companies would have the choice to follow either state law or city ordinances, with state oversight being the less strict choice.

Mike Bail is a Columbia Uber driver who doesn’t mind the process of being licensed in more than one city in Missouri.

“I pick up in Kansas City because I’m licensed in Kansas City also,” Bail said. “I paid that extra fee, and I’m licensed in Kansas City, so I can do that.”

Despite the additional regulations from the City of Columbia, Bail said it’s all worth it.

“I take students from the bus stop in Columbia, there on campus, to a dorm,” Bail said. “That’s a three-minute walk, but I wouldn’t want my daughter walking at 5 o’clock in the morning to a dorm.”

There are currently about 200 licensed transportation network operators in the City of Columbia.