TOPEKA — A Conference Committee Report passed on April 5 would allow cities to adopt an ordinance allowing lighted devices to be installed on transportation network company vehicles, including those used for rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber.
Current law prohibits lights from being visible from the center front on vehicles. SB 63 specifies that a lighting device could display a steady light with any color except for red.
The CCR passed 101 to 20 on April 5. Rep. Brandon Woodard (D-Lenexa) tweeted, “I voted YES” following the decision.
The light would function as a way to indicate to passengers which vehicle to enter. Lyft Amp is the pink and purple light that Lyft provides, while the Uber uses the Beacon, a soft white light. The lights both change colors as they are approaching the customer.
The bill was introduced to the Senate Committee on Transportation at the request of Sen. Mike Petersen (R-Wichita) on Jan. 31. The bill passed with final action on Feb. 27 with 40 in favor and none against. SB 63 was passed through the House on March 26 with 124 in support and none in opposition.
In the committee meeting, Peterson testified in favor, citing that the light would make it easier for customers to find their designated vehicle in a crowded location.
The bill was non concurred with amendments and Petersen, Goddard, and Sen. Pat Pettey (D-Kansas City) were appointed as conferees. A written testimony was also provided by Lyft Public Policy Manager Jonathan Buckner.
“One way that Lyft ensures our riders are safe is through the use of the Amp. The Amp ensures that riders are only entering Lyft approved vehicles and only the exact vehicle to which a ride has been matched,” Buckner stated.
The enactment of the bill would have no fiscal effect on cities.
Olivia Schmidt is a University of Kansas senior from Lawrence studying journalism.