Tri-Cities may be Uber cities within the next few months - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Tri-Cities may be Uber cities within the next few months

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KENNEWICK, WA - A representative from the Rideshare company met with representatives from Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco yesterday to discuss the possibility of bringing Uber to Tri-Cities.

Some of the details included possibly changing some of the municipal codes in each city.

Uber contacted the city of Kennewick to schedule the meeting, and the city contacted Richland and Pasco and invited them to participate in the discussions as well.

The city of Kennewick's Evelyn Lusignan says the city and Uber are not far apart in their discussions and concerns.

They say Uber is concerned about municipal codes requiring the city to do background checks on potential drivers.

Uber conducts its own background checks on potential drivers, so the company would like municipal codes on Rideshare companies to loosen up on those requirements.

"We're looking at the methods that we're using, 'would [the methods Uber uses] be similar?'" said Lusignan. "Also, being able to confirm that the background checks are being done was another topic of discussion."

But Lusignan adds that nothing is actually stopping Rideshare companies like Uber or Lyft from operating in Kennewick right now; however, she says Uber would like to have those municipal codes adjusted anyway, to fit its business model before it sets up shop in the Tri-Cities.

"They can do business today under our current code, but the way our code is written, it provides some barriers to them and they would like for us to consider some changes," Lusignan said.

She says for both sides, it's all in the name of making sure the passengers are safe when they get into their rides.

Lusignan told reporter Rex Carlin that the next steps for the city of Kennewick include looking at codes from other cities as well as getting some more information from Uber before bringing the changes up before the City Council.

Uber had something to say on this situation as well, stating: "We have been working with Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland city staffs to bring Uber to the Tri-Cities, and we are optimistic about reaching a mutually agreeable outcome."

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