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  • Uber Launches Service in St. Louis Amidst Lawsuit Against The Taxi Commission

    Uber launched its service on the streets of St. Louis Friday in the midst of a lawsuit against the agency that issued its permission to operate.

    St. Louis was the largest city in the country without an Uber service before the Taxicab Commission voted to allow it. The vote passed 7-1, but under the condition that Uber has its drivers fingerprinted as part of a background check with which all taxi drivers in Missouri must comply. (RELATED: Crunch Time For Uber In St. Louis)

    Uber insists that its own background checks are sufficient to ensure passenger safety and subsequently filed an anti-trust lawsuit that calls the commission a “cartel” that’s out to use “public safety” as a cudgel to prevent competition in the taxi sector.

    “The MTC’s pretext for these barriers to entry was ‘public safety,’ but the true purpose of the MTC’s conduct was to bar entry by Uber and other competitors to traditional taxis,” the lawsuit said.

    Neil Bruntrager, the commission’s attorney, responded by saying it has done nothing but cooperate, according to The Los Angeles Times.

    “We have done everything we can do to open the door to these guys within the limits of the law, and I don’t think they were ever bargaining in good faith,” Bruntrager said.

    According to Uber, more than 1,900 drivers have signed up and passed its background checks, with 58,000 people in the region downloading the app.

    The authorities produced a somewhat confusing reaction to Uber’s defiance. St. Louis County will ticket Uber drivers who fail to comply with the regulations, but the city authorities will not.

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