Council makes way for Uber and Lyft in Galesburg. Here’s when riding sharing becomes available

Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft will be available in Galesburg later this month.

Alderman on first reading Monday approved an amendment to the Galesburg Municipal Code regulating Transportation Network Companies and drivers. The amendment to the ordinance requires that a driver must secure a license from the city after they have received approval to drive for a TNC, and removes the requirement for a TNC such as Uber or Lyft to have a license with the City of Galesburg.

The ordinance also amends the fee from $1,500 for a TNC company to $100 for a TNC driver. Currently, there are no TNCs operating in the city.

Ericka Gugliotta, deputy city clerk, tells WGIL the amended ordinance takes effect April 11.

Gugliotta says all drivers will go through an application process and provide proper documentation with the City. All drivers must be an approved TNC driver prior to the city issuing a license. State statute requires all TNC companies to do their due diligence for approving all drivers. That includes requiring proper insurance and background checks.  

“Once the license is approved, the driver should receive a license within a couple of days,” Gugliotta said.

Council member questions cost of license

Council members approved the amended ordinance by a 7-0 vote, although Sixth Ward alderperson Sarah Davis initially questioned the $100 license fee.

“A lot of people tend to do this on the fly when they need extra income,” Davis said. “So for them to have to shell out more cash and make some money seems like it’s not really serving the community members who are in need and seeking another revenue source.”

City Manager Eric Hanson said there are costs with the licensing process and that it’s a common practice for other cities to charge a fee for a TNC license.

“It also ensures that they are serious and committed relative to getting a license and moving forward,” Hanson said.

Gugliotta noted taxi companies pay a license fee to operate in Galesburg — $50 per cab and $50 per driver.

Davis also asked city staff to explain why a driver for a food delivery service like DoorDash does not have to be licensed by the city.

“We want to ensure the drivers have had background checks — they are not just driving food products, they are driving other humans,” Hanson said. “I think we have a responsibility as a municipality to ensure the people driving have gone through proper checks.”