If you want to call a cab in Kansas, it will no longer be an Uber. The company ceased its operations there today after local legislators approved a new law that requires ride-sharing drivers to up their insurance coverage, and undergo a background check from the state's Bureau of Investigation. In a blog post today, Uber said the new bill "makes it impossible for Uber to operate in the state." As such, it stopped accepting rides from its app at 2:45PM local time.
Kansas wanted more insurance and state-operated driver background checks
The bill in question is SB 117, and was introduced in January to create a regulatory framework for ride-sharing services operating within the state. One of its key stipulations required Uber's drivers to carry insurance during the gap between when they were on the clock and when their own insurance was in play. Uber contended that the state was requiring a higher level of insurance coverage than any other state where it was operating. The bill was vetoed by Kansas state Governor Sam Brownback, then overturned today by its House and Senate, reports The Kansas City Star.
This isn't the first US state to push Uber out of its borders with what the private company views as onerous regulations. Last year, Virginia officials ordered both it and Lyft to cease operations under the threat of heavy fines, though the state ended up relenting in February. Last November, Nevada also blocked the companies from operating, citing local regulations. That ban is up for debate, and could end up changing as the state reevaluates how it regulates Uber and other transportation network companies.