ROCHESTER, Minn. – Shortly after 10 p.m. Monday, the Rochester City Council passed the proposed Transportation Network Company ordinance that would allow ride sharing services like Uber to operate within the city.
The unanimous, walk-on vote came after the council spent time earlier Monday afternoon going through the proposed ordinance section by section at the committee of the whole meeting.
Council members who previously voted against the ordinance during the Nov. 21 meeting said having that extra time to go through it and make changes was key securing their support for the proposed ordinance that passed Monday night.
“I think we’ve got a good product from our discussion even though I know it was painful for some folks,” said Council President Randy Staver.
“I’ve been incredibly frustrated by the process until today,” explained Councilman Mark Hickey, who previously voted against the ordinance. “There’s been a rush to get this passed without discussing it and today we finally took the time to go though the ordinance section by section and make sure this is really the ordinance that is appropriate for Rochester,” he adds.
However, Councilman Michael Wojcik, a vocal supporter of TNCs from the beginning, was frustrated with the process for different reasons.
“I’m not proud of the delays, I don’t think we gained much from the delays,” he says. “Everything that we agreed on we could have agreed on two months ago. The public was a loser by this delay and I don’t want to self-congratulate there.”
As far as what changes were made from the proposed ordinance that failed last month to the one tonight, Wojcik says they’re minor and that users and drivers aren’t going to notice any real changes.
The vote on Monday was followed by the first reading of the ordinance. A second reading is needed early next year before it becomes official. The council also plans to revisit the TNC ordinance in about a year.
Another decision at the committee of the whole meeting was that the city would revisit the current taxi cab ordinance following concerns that having TNCs would create an unfair playing field for the cab industry.