Representatives of the Milwaukee taxicab industry and technology-based newcomers Lyft and Uber urged members of a city panel on Friday not to fast-track a proposed ordinance that would revamp public passenger licensing, regulation and enforcement.

For the city's taxi industry, there is concern the proposal would put cab owners out of business after decades of operating under a system that capped the number of permits. Red Christensen, who directs the Wisconsin Association of Taxicab Owners, said a study is needed to determine how many cabs are needed to operate successfully in Milwaukee.

"Let's get a study done and get an educated decision," Christensen told the Public Transportation Review Board.

For Uber and Lyft representatives, the proposed ordinance would put unneeded administrative burdens on the companies' business models. The two firms use smartphone technology allowing people who need a ride to summon one with their phone. Both companies conduct background checks on drivers and inspect the vehicles, two tasks the city would perform under the proposed ordinance.


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