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City draws line in sand with Uber, Lyft

Published On: Jul 07 2014 06:41:28 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 08 2014 11:51:01 AM CDT
Uber, car taxi service app

John R. Coughlin/CNN


A letter from City Attorney Michael May said Uber and Lyft have been given 10 days to tell the city steps they will take to come in compliance with the city's ordinances.

Uber and Lyft offer ride services within the city of Madison, but are not currently regulated in the same manner as cab companies. Riders use apps to contact the two companies for ride pickups.

In the letter, the city attorney outlined steps the city will take if Uber and Lyft fail to respond within the 10-day period.

"If you fail to do so, the city will determine to take any necessary additional enforcement," the letter said.

The ultimatum from the city came as a surprise to Madison Alder Scott Resnick, who has been involved in negotiations with Uber and Lyft. Resnick said this decision may undermine the progress being made.

"We are making a lot of progress. To this point, both Uber and Lyft have been at the negotiation tables. We were able to work through some of the difficult decisions involving insurance, things like how to service the entire city, many issues like discrimination and making sure this is a safe practice here in Madison, and unfortunately this latest decision has put a damper on those negotiations," Resnick said.

He believes the city council, Uber and Lyft were on track to reach an agreement, but he is concerned about the impact this letter will have on future negotiations.

"It has had a chilling effect. You know, for the first time, these companies have talked about now deciding to avoid the city process to go straight up to the state to make their decision, and I think that that does harm for local control. To this point, they have been very willing to participate in the city of Madison's process. Going to the state isn't the answer," Resnick said.

News 3 contacted May for comment regarding the letter. He declined to comment until Uber and Lyft respond or the 10-day period passes.