Ashland mayor vetoes ridesharing ordinance change

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In a last minute move, the Mayor of Ashland John Stromberg vetoed the recently approved change to the ridesharing ordinance allowing transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft service in the city.

"This is a very complicated subject," Stromberg said.

An amended ordinance approved by the city council earlier this month dropped requirements to provide vehicle inspections and accessibility to wheelchair-friendly vehicles in hopes of bringing the ride-sharing companies to town. So far, none have registered to operate and the Uber blacks out the city of Ashland for pick-ups on its app.

By rule, the Mayor's veto has to be done within five calendar days of the council's Tuesday decision. "I filed it several hours ahead of deadline Sunday," Stromberg said.

Stromberg described the move as a "friendly veto."

"The purpose of this veto is not to permanently ban ride-hailing services from operating out of Ashland," Stromberg said. "Its purpose is to urge the council to more thoroughly consider the pros and cons and to seek some fairly minor accommodations from the TNCs on behalf of our citizens."

Ashland City Councilor Julie Akins opposes the veto.

“It means the council will have to deliberate again on this measure,” Akins said. “It will slow or potentially kill the ordinance which would have allowed Uber and Lyft to operate in Ashland.”

According to Akins, the Mayor is acting in good conscience, but she doesn’t agree his reasoning is enough to override the measure passed by a majority of council members.

The ordinance will be brought back before the city council at the February 19 council meeting, according to a press release by the city.

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