Photos: Metro Council debates rideshare service

Getting a ride in Baton Rouge is about to get a little easier.

The Metro Council on Wednesday voted in favor of ordinances allowing rideshare companies like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar into the Baton Rouge market, much to the dismay of local taxi industry representatives.

The ordinance change doesn’t go into effect until 12 days from Wednesday, unless Mayor-President Kip Holden signs it before then.

Brian Trascher, an Uber lobbyist, said he thinks it will take only a few weeks to get a fleet together. He said applications have been steady, “but not as heavy as they are in New Orleans.” Representatives from other rideshare companies were not present at the council meeting.

Ridesharing services allow passengers to use smartphone apps to hail rides from amateur drivers, often using their personal vehicles. Riders use their phones to pay with credit cards, with the company and the driver each taking a cut.

Ahead of the vote Wednesday, cab drivers lined up to tell the Metro Council that the new services are unfair to heavily regulated taxi drivers and unsafe for passengers.