Want to get an Uber pickup in Chalmette? Sorry. No longer available.
What about Lyft? That company is still picking up riders but is "reviewing all its options" after the St. Bernard Parish Council this month passed new rules governing ride-hailing services.
St. Bernard is just the latest area jurisdiction to fashion its own rules governing companies like Uber and Lyft, joining New Orleans, Jefferson Parish, Kenner and Gretna.
The array of varying local rules has both companies renewing calls for a statewide approach. That would free them from what an Uber spokeswoman called "a patchwork of conflicting regulations" that she said has stymied the companies' expansion in Louisiana, including into St. Bernard Parish.
For St. Bernard Councilman Howard Luna, the sponsor of the ordinance that passed unanimously on May 15, the companies' response is mystifying.
The parish's ordinance is based on a similar one passed in 2016 in Gretna, he said. The Gretna ordinance charges the companies a $7,500 license fee and 25 cents for every ride that originates in the city. The St. Bernard ordinance lowers the flat fee to $2,500 but raises the per-ride fee to 50 cents.
"We thought it would be an easy extension to do it in St. Bernard," Luna said.
The St. Bernard ordinance also includes provisions to make sure all drivers have insured vehicles no more than eight years old, and it says the parish can order drug tests of 25 drivers every three months.
Also like Gretna's law, the ordinance requires biannual background checks for drivers, and it prohibits any person who has a felony conviction or served a sentence within the last five years or who is a known sex offender from driving for the companies.
Luna insisted that the parish's ordinance wasn't an attempt to grab some of the revenue generated by the popular services.
"It wasn't revenue-driven," he said. "It's about taking care of the residents."
The ordinance also was geared at leveling the playing field between the ride-hailing services and taxi companies, he said.
Luna said parish officials reached out to the companies and were in discussions with representatives from Lyft. They were not able to reach Uber representatives, he said.
The Uber spokeswoman singled out St. Bernard as a place where Uber will not be expanding until statewide regulations are in place. A statewide regulatory bill failed to make it through the Legislature this year.
"A patchwork of conflicting regulations prevents expansion throughout Louisiana, which is why we support one clear set of rules for ride-sharing that can bring Uber to St. Bernard Parish and statewide, just as 45 states have done,” spokeswoman Evangeline George said.
Lyft is still doing business in St. Bernard, but the company is studying how the new law might affect it and is "considering all options," spokesman Adrian Durbin said. He added that the company was disappointed by the Legislature's failure to pass a comprehensive regulatory scheme.
"We were hopeful the Legislature would have resolved the issue of often contradictory local regulations by passing statewide ride-sharing legislation this year. The failure of the Senate to do that was a let down for ride-share passengers and drivers across the state," Durbin said.
Advocate writer Della Hasselle contributed to this story.