Proposed rules by Nevada agency for ride-hailing companies include $300,000 fee, 1 percent tax

Markets Associated Press

Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing companies could be on the hook to pay a $300,000 fee and a percentage of their annual revenue before they can rev up to offer rides in Nevada, according to proposed rules drafted by a state agency.

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On Tuesday the Nevada Transportation Authority submitted 15 pages of draft regulations to the Legislative Counsel Bureau.

The proposals still face a public hearing and consideration by state lawmakers on the Legislative Commission.

The entry of the companies in the taxi-heavy tourist destination of Nevada has been divisive. It began with a legal tussle between Uber and the taxi industry in October, when the company tried to launch its service without prior approval.

Taxi companies have called ride-hailing firms a public safety risk. Locals have welcomed an alternative to sometimes waiting hours for taxis to pick them up from suburban homes.

Based on the draft rules, ride-hailing companies could be required to pay a $300,000 application fee and a 1 percent levy on annual operating revenues. Drivers could face a $50 fee the first year and $10 annual renewals.

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The agency initially proposed a $500,000 application fee for companies wanting to sign up an unlimited number of drivers.

Lyft says it pays about $200 to $5,000 in most other places in application fees, and the highest annual fee it pays elsewhere is a little more than $100,000.

The company suggested a $200 application fee; a levy that would be no more than 1 percent of revenue; and no individual driver fees since the companies would be conducting background checks on drivers, inspecting vehicles and keeping records.

"There are sufficient checks and balances in place to deter violations," wrote Lyft vice president of compliance and payment operations Kelly Kay.

The draft rules don't appear to include earlier language restricting where ride-hailing cars could pick up or drop off passengers relative to taxicab stands.

Jonathan Schwartz, the owner of Yellow Checker Star Transportation, had suggested separate staging areas for the cars, according to his written public comments.

McCarran International Airport is still working out its own rules for ride-hailing firms.

The draft regulations restrict the companies from charging more than its base rate during emergencies but don't address the ability to charge surge-pricing during peak travel times.

Earlier versions of the rules had proposed allowing the companies to charge up to twice their base rate during emergencies as long as customers were told what they would be charged.