Uber has put the brakes on its Kansas operation now that the state legislature is requiring new regulations like backgrounds checks on drivers and better car insurance.
The new law requires drivers for all ride-hailing companies to undergo Kansas Bureau of Investigation background checks and to obtain additional auto insurance coverage. Uber immediately stopped its operation. The law survived a veto from the Republican governor who vowed no new restrictions on companies like Uber, reports KWCH-TV.
"Uber has ceased operations throughout the state," said Uber spokeswoman Lauren Altmin in a statement, reports the Kansas City Star. "We're saddened by the loss of hundreds of jobs, safe rides and transportation choice for consumers in Kansas."
Uber, an inexpensive cab-like service, is contacted via cell phone apps. The San Francisco-based company claims not to have drivers or cars of its own, but only serves as a communication link between drivers and prospective passengers. That makes its responsibility hazy for background checks on drivers, driver behavior and the safety of the cars they drive. There have been reports of drivers attacking female passengers, and a Colorado driver was arrested recently for trying to break into the home of a passenger he had just driven to the airport.
Uber is now facing a lawsuit because drivers have refused blind passengers because they don't feel like taking their seeing eye dogs. The National Federation of the Blind of California, one of the plaintiffs, said it had collected more than 40 cases in which blind riders were refused service because of their service animals. The plaintiffs argue Uber is required by federal law to ensure equal access to riders with service animals. Uber has argued it's not a public accommodation subject to Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
European cities have tended to levy more demands on the upstart company than in America.
Uber operates in more than 270 cities worldwide and is valued at more than $40bn (£26.3bn).