UPDATE: City council passes new taxi rules in Iowa City - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: City council passes new taxi rules in Iowa City

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) - Iowa City is planning changes for cab companies and ride-sharing services like Uber, and not everyone is happy about it.

On Monday night, the city council approved the new guidelines for taxi cabs.  

It all comes after reports of sexual assaults involving cab drivers and multiple instances where drivers have been the victims of armed robberies.

"I actually had a gun pulled on me," said Rafat Alawneh, owner of Number One Cab.

Alawneh takes safety seriously. That's why his cabs have two-way radios, tacking devices on meters and hidden cameras inside.

Now Iowa City is adding requirements for taxi cab companies. The city council wants want each company to have a unique color scheme, to dispatch only from the main office overnight, and to have city-issued ID cards for drivers.

The city council is also looking to regulate Web-based companies like Uber, where everything is done in the Uber app.

But Uber, where drivers use their own cars and work on their own time, doesn't think the regulations will work for them.

"Iowa City is attempting to squeeze ride-sharing into a regulatory framework designed for taxis," said Jennifer Mullin, who works in communications for Uber Central. "As a key part of the tech corridor, Iowa City, of all cities, should understand how innovative solutions like the Uber platform should be regulated. It's unfortunate the current ordinance does not reflect an understanding of how technology has reinvented how people can get a ride."

Uber's response is disappointing news for people who were looking forward to the company's launch in Iowa City.

"It stinks," said Joie Probst, a University of Iowa student who has used Uber in other cities."I definitely think it's a lot safer and it's a lot cheaper than most cabs around here, so I definitely think it would be a good service to use."

Back at Number One Cab, they don't mind the extra requirements.

"It's fine," said Alawneh. "We'll do it."

The city has already scheduled an open house for cab drivers to discuss the changes. That will be held Wednesday.

Caitlin Harbach contributed to this report. 

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