Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. left, watches as Madison Mayor Paul Soglin speaks out against Gov. Scott Walker's proposal ending residency requirements for public workres statewide on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)

U.S. mayors vote down tighter regulations for Uber, Lyft

A large gathering of the nation’s mayors resoundingly voted down proposed stricter regulations of ride-hail apps like Uber and Lyft, in San Francisco on Saturday.

Over the weekend nearly 300 mayors visited San Francisco for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The gathered mayors voted in committees to pass resolutions recommending changes in law to local and federal agencies.

There is power in numbers, but Saturday, the numbers were against Madison, Wis., Mayor Paul Soglin.

For the second year in a row, Soglin introduced a resolution asking the Transportation and Communications Committee of the conference that more power be given to local governments to enact laws restricting ride-hail companies like Uber and Lyft.

The committee has no authority itself to enact laws, but resolutions passed by the U.S. Mayors Conference are largely seen as influential in lobbying for change.
In a small, packed room at the Hilton Union Square Hotel, Soglin made his case to his colleagues.

“I don’t know how many experiences you’ve had to date with this new industry,” Soglin told the mayors. “The innovation it brings is the app, it’s wonderful.”

But, he said, “It can exist in the marketplace without devastating our communities.”
His resolution would not only give power to local government to regulate ride-hail apps, but also ask Uber and Lyft to cease operation in cities until regulations are in place. Many of the mayors present spoke up against his resolution as too restrictive.

Mayor Robert Reichert of Macon, Ga., said, “The best way to stifle innovation is by regulation.”

Another mayor said he preferred Uber to taxis because he was able to take Jaguars and the newest SUVs through the Uber app.

Soglin said after Wisconsin passed looser regulations not requiring
Uber and others to share driver identity data with the state, that “three days later, we had two sexual assaults.”

“They told our local police department if they wanted to know who the driver was, they’d need a subpoena or search warrant,” Soglin said. “By the time we did that, that man fled the United States of America.”

When asked about the incident, an Uber spokeswoman said the company would only speak on background. Notably, Uber and Lyft are both listed sponsors of the conference, paying for luncheons and other accommodations for the mayors.

On Monday the mayors are invited to tour Uber headquarters on Market Street. A protest by local taxi ndrivers is planned to coincide with the tour.

Before the vote, Soglin told the mayors “this does not stifle innovation, this is a reasonable effort to provide safety.”


If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

City officials closed San Francisco County Jail No. 4 on the top floor of the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. in September, reducing the number of beds in the jail system by about 400. 
Kevin N. Hume/
S.F. Examiner
SF jail closure prompts doctor to call for release of more inmates

Reduced space increases risk of COVID-19 spreading among those in custody

Cyclists have flocked to Market Street since private vehicles were largely banned from a long stretch of it in January. (Amanda Peterson/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Plans for sidewalk-level bikeway on Market Street dropped due to costs, increased cyclist volume

Advocates say revisions to Better Market Street fail to meet safety goals of project

Prop. 21 would allow San Francisco city officials to expand rent control to cover thousands more units. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Tenant advocates take another try at expanding rent control with Prop. 21

Measure would allow city to impose new protections on properties 15 years or older

Tenderloin residents are finding benefits to having roads closed in the neighborhood. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Should there be fewer cars in the Tenderloin’s future?

The pandemic has opened San Franciscans’ eyes to new uses of urban streets

Singer-songwriter Cam is finding musicmaking to be healing during 2020’s world health crisis. 
Dennis Leupold
Cam challenges country music tropes

Bay Area-bred songwriter releases ‘The Otherside’

Most Read