All that was left was a full City Council vote at its regular meeting on Tuesday night. A unanimous approval of all council members of the vehicle-for-hire ordinance was needed for a vote to be finalized. That did not happen, as District 5 City Council Member Kip Tyner cast a dissenting vote. The final vote was six to one.
Negotiations between the City and Uber have been ongoing for years.
Back in the spring, Councilman Tyner was quoted in Druid City Living as expressing concerns about Uber coming to town, particularly after the way events unfolded the first time Uber arrived, and left. The first time Uber operated in Tuscaloosa, a driver was arrested and charged with marijuana possession and received multiple additional citations.
Tyner said in March 2016:
When they negotiated with us, we felt like they [Uber] weren’t negotiating with us in good faith. They were refusing to play by the same rules that other vehicles-for-hire do, which is background checks, regular car inspections, having cars positively identified [as an Uber car], and having individual business licenses.
The lack of required individual business licenses is what reportedly led Tyner to vote “no” on Tuesday night.
The measure is now tabled until the next Tuscaloosa City Council meeting on June 28, when the vote is expected to be finalized.
Will Tuscaloosa get Uber anytime soon? Stay tuned. The wheels are in motion, so to speak. If the ordinance gets a unanimous vote next week, Uber and Lyft could begin operating in Tuscaloosa within the next 30 days.
To see the entire synopsis of Tuesday evening's council meeting, click here.