Landrieu signs ordinance allowing ridesharing operations in New Orleans, UberX begins service in city

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Mayor Mitch Landrieu signs the ordinance allowing ridesharing operating in New Orleans, such as UberX and Lyft. 

Thomas O'Brien, Managing Editor

Update [2:18 p.m.]:

Uber has begun offering its UberX and UberXL services in New Orleans, according to an email sent Thursday afternoon.

The company’s phone application now allows passengers to request a ride using these services.

UberX allows drivers to transport up to four passengers in their personal vehicles while UberXL drivers can transport up to six passengers in SUVs or mini-vans. 

Original story:

Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed an ordinance into law Wednesday allowing ridesharing operations, such as UberX and Lyft, to operate in New Orleans. City Council voted 4-2 to approve the ordinance April 9.

“I am grateful we were able to come together and craft this ordinance in a way that gives residents and visitors more choices, increases accessibility to more areas of our city and ensures the public’s safety,” Landrieu said in a press release.

Uber began its high-end UberBLACK and UberSUV service in the city in September, but it quickly placed pressure on City Council to approve its more popular UberX service, which allows drivers to use their personal vehicles to pick up riders who request a ride on Uber’s cell phone application. 

This ordinance will allow UberX and similar programs to operate in the city. Under the ordinance the Department of Safety and Permits has full discretion in issuing permits. 

These rideshare services will have to pay a permit fee of $15,000 annually and $0.50 per trip in Orleans Parish. Drivers must follow all rules and regulations. 

Jared Brossett, District D Councilmember and chairman of the transportation and airport committee, said these ridesharing services were approved after analyzing the benefits they present in a press release Wednesday.

“Ridesharing is an economic benefit and much-needed option for the citizens of New Orleans,” Brossett said. “Through long months of testimony, I heard from many constituents on the need for rideshare services that will create jobs and increase access.” 

District A Councilmember Susan Guidry also spoke on behalf of ridesharing operations in the press release.

“We have worked hard to ensure public safety and consumer protection while meeting our citizens’ demand for increased for-hire options,” Guidry said. 

Junior Reed Gioe said he strongly supported the city’s decision to allow ridesharing services in New Orleans.

“The days of the horror stories we have all experienced with the cab service in this city will finally come to an end,” Gioe said. “[UberX] will create a safer environment Uptown because Uber will be available to take students to and from bars — a feature missing even from options like Safe Ride or Gold Zone.”