Permission to Uber?
In 2014, the Metro City Council passed ordinances regulating Uber and Lyft drivers in Davidson County. According to City Council, in order to use your vehicle to pick up passengers within the jurisdiction of the metro government, you are required to obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the director of the Metropolitan Transportation Licensing Commission (MTLC).
The City Council accomplished this by passing Ordinance No. BL2014-952 to regulate motorized, non-taxi passenger vehicles for hire, including, but not limited to, Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft. In other words, the Metro City Council gave themselves the ability to license, control, and regulate drivers utilizing the Uber and Lyft apps while providing transportation services within Davidson County.
So, what does this mean for Uber and Lyft drivers here in Davidson County? In order to obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity, you must
- Obtain a business license and start your own company in the state of Tennessee;
- Complete another Passenger Vehicles for Hire (OPHV) Company Application through the MTLC;
- Have your vehicle inspected by the MTLC;
- Pass a thorough background check conducted by the MTLC;
- Obtain both one million dollars of commercial general liability insurance and one million dollars of personal automobile liability insurance; and, finally,
- Go before the Transportation Licensing Committee at their monthly commission meeting to show you have met the prerequisite requirements, then, if successful, they will grant you your certificate.
If that is not enough, here’s the kicker, jumping through all these hoops will cost you in upper wards of $600.
Don’t Park Your Uber Yet!
If you are like the majority of Uber and Lyft drivers in Nashville, you likely had no idea this was even a thing, but don’t park your car just yet. When the metro ordinance went into effect on December 16, 2014, it cited state law (Tennessee Code, 7-51-1001 et seq.) which grants authority to metropolitan governments to license, control, and regulate private passenger-for-hire vehicles, like Uber and Lyft, within their jurisdictions. However, Tennessee lawmakers at the state level wasted no time in addressing the same issue themselves when they enacted the Transportation Network Company (TNC) Services Act on May 20, 2015. This Act eliminated any authority a municipality or other governmental entity had in governing private passenger-for-hire vehicles under Tennessee Code Section 7, Chapter 51.
Violations Around the Corner?
Although the metro ordinance has been on the books since 2014, it has not been enforced by local law enforcement here in Davidson County. However, after recently speaking with a few local law enforcement officers, Grover Collins uncovered that metro officers will soon begin enforcing the requirements of the metropolitan code, ignoring the TNC Services Act passed by state lawmakers. This means that drivers not in compliance with the rules set out by MTLC are facing at minimum a $50 civil fine from the Metro-Davidson County Police Department and up to having their right to drive for a TNC company suspended, revoked, or indefinitely restricted by the MTLC.
Put Collins Legal in the Driver’s Seat.
The decision to start enforcing a law has no bearing on the legality of the law, and that is where the rubber meets the road. While driving for Uber or Lyft, if you are cited for not having a certificate of public convenience and necessity, we can help. Contact our Nashville team of attorneys today so we can safely put you back in the driver’s seat tomorrow.
 Legislatures did allow commercial service airports, such as Nashville International, to retain their own authority to adopt reasonable standards, regulations, procedures, and fees for conducting TNC services on airport property to promote the safe and efficient use of resources.