Columbus Implements Regulations For App-based Taxi Services

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Columbus imposed new regulations on the ride-sharing programs gaining popularity in the capital city Monday night.  

Uber and Lyft are alternative options to hailing a taxi. These companies use apps to connect with riders.

"Sometimes you have to go one step backwards to take two steps forward," said Bryan Ducmanas.

Ducmanas has learned the city well. He's been driving for Uber, a ride-share company, since it started at the beginning of the year.

"Thursday's a little more busier. Fridays and Saturdays are naturally the busiest," said Ducmanas.

Here's how it works. Drivers sign on online when they're available. A rider requests a car through an app. The driver's phone signals him. He accepts the pick-up.

"Not only do we have to regulate the drivers, we have to ensure that the appropriate insurance scheme is in place," said Columbus Councilman Zach Klein.

The companies don't fall under the same rules as taxis because the companies don't own the vehicles and the drivers are independent contractors. Klein says the new rules include background checks for drivers and the companies have to carry a million dollars in insurance.

"We have to make sure the passenger in the back is covered. If that person receives bodily injury, that the driver has some coverage as well as the person who gets hit by the driver," said Klein.

Uber says it didn't have a problem with the regulations. It already does extensive background checks and the drivers and the company carry more insurance than is required for cabs.

"You have to upload all of your insurances and registration, they ask for all kinds of photos of your vehicle," said Ducmanas.

It's an extra step now for drivers. They will have to go through a second background check and register with the city.