The road to ride-sharing in Louisiana is about to widen.
A bill that Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law Tuesday will expand and regulate services like Uber and Lyft statewide — into more rural markets.
“Bringing these services to these areas opens up new places and businesses for people where they live,” Edwards said in a release shortly after approving the measure. “This bill is an example of how when people work together to find solutions, our state is improved.”
The governor’s signature ends a three-year stalemate in the push to bring ride-sharing beyond just the Baton Rouge, Lafayette, New Orleans and Shreveport areas. Current law has blocked Uber and Lyft pickups in places not pre-approved by municipal leaders.
“Rideshare services decrease the number of [drunk drivers] and increase jobs,” said bill sponsor Rep. Tanner Magee, whose hometown of Houma has lacked access to Uber and Lyft. “It is beyond time that we brought them to all of our communities in Louisiana.”
The statewide regulations will fall under the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development’s oversight. The department plans to enforce background checks for drivers, as well as fare transparency measures.
Rules in cities where ride-sharing already exists will remain unchanged.
The law takes effect Aug. 1.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, who signed the ride-hailing measure into law Tuesday:
“Creating a statewide framework for ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft benefits our smaller and rural communities where rideshare services aren’t currently available. Bringing these services to these areas opens up new places and businesses for people where they live, makes it easier for visitors in Louisiana to connect with our local experiences and helps reduce impaired driving. This bill is an example of how when people work together to find solutions, our state is improved and I am thankful that Representative Magee championed it.”
Rep. Tanner Magee, the Houma Republican who sponsored the ride-sharing proposal:
“I’m excited to have this bill signed at Nicholls State, because it is the kind of place that can benefit from this legislation. Rideshare services decrease the number of DWIs and increase jobs and it is beyond time that we brought them to all of our communities in Louisiana.”
Evangeline George, Uber Southeast Public Affairs Manager:
“This statewide framework for ridesharing will bring Uber’s access to reliable rides and flexible work opportunities throughout Louisiana. We thank Governor Edwards and all those who have worked hard to bring one clear set of rules for ridesharing to Louisiana – from the House and Senate to local elected officials and organizations in the Let’s Geaux Louisiana coalition to the many Uber riders and drivers who spoke in support.”