Uber Temporarily Blacked Out in Tri-Cities - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Uber Temporarily Blacked Out in Tri-Cities

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KENNEWICK, WA- If you tried to request and Uber ride the week of December 7, there won't be any cars available because Uber has been blacked out in our area. 

Mike Blatman talked with us Tuesday about the temporary suspension, "they had shut down operations in the Tri-Cities, after they realized the information that they had uploaded was not accurate as far as rules and regulations are concerned". Drivers were signing up through the Spokane center and then driving down to Tri-Cities for trips. 

We talked with Uber Spokesperson Kate Downen and she told us the next step is hopefully bringing Uber to the Tri-Cities but first they must work with the city of Kennewick because she said Uber drivers are different than taxi drivers, "T.N.C's and Transportation Networking Companies like Uber are a newer model than a traditional taxi". 

Five years old and Uber is asking cities across the country to recognize their company as a T.N.C and to legally treat them as such, "so it's a completely new model and that's why we've worked with jurisdictions across the county to establish regulations for ride sharing that work and we're very eager to do that in the Tri-Cities as we've done with Spokane and Seattle and other cities across the country". 

According to Blatman, the city does not agree with changing the current ordinance for Uber drivers, "changing the rules specifically for Uber drivers would make it an unlevel playing field for local businesses, the chauffeurs, limousines and taxi drivers in this area". 

Uber is hoping they can be back and officially in the Tri-Cities soon but the city does not show any flexibility with changing the current ordinance. As we've seen just last week with Portland, it took an extensive period of time and a 120 day pilot program to come to a city council vote of two to three, allowing Uber into the city.