Charlotte leaders meet over concerns over new taxi ride app

by: Allison Latos Updated:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Travelers don't have to flag down a taxi to catch a ride in Charlotte anymore.

There's an app for that.

Monday, Charlotte city leader met over concerns new companies offering a ride, could put travelers in danger.

Since the new companies like Lyft and Uber popped up in Charlotte, so have city concerns about protection.

"Our concern is who is driving those cars, what's the condition of the cars, and are there any issues with respect to the driver being on drugs?" said Mayor Pro Tem Michael Barnes.

When Lyft launched this fall, the company told Channel 9 drivers' backgrounds are checked and the cars inspected.

Unlike taxis or limos, a new state law states cities can't regulate digital dispatch companies.

The owner of Universal Taxi Cab believes those exceptions are helping companies cut into his business.

"We're losing a lot of business. As you can see in front of you, the fleet sitting in front of you because drivers cannot make enough money to survive," Mohamed Moustafa said.

"Right now, our hands have been tied to some extent by the state," said Barnes.

Eyewitness News called Union County Representative Craig Horn, who sponsored the bill, for an explanation.

"We have a majority now that believes in the free market," said Horn. "I believe in the free market."

Horn said competition doesn't trump safety and would be willing to meet with city officials.

The legislature starts the short session in May.

If city officials and lawmakers hold any meetings about the law before then, Eyewitness News will follow those discussions.