July 1, 2016, Mississippi Governor signed Transportation Network Company Act into law outlining specific rules that Transportation Network Companies has to comply with when they do business in the state of Mississippi. I have encountered an instances where Uber violated these rules after lobbying for the State of Mississippi to adopt them.
Under Rule 1.22 (c), drivers are defined as independent contractors if:
- The transportation network company does not assign a transportation network company driver a particular territory in which to operate.
Uber restricts drivers from “going online” in or around Lauderdale County. As a current driver of over 2½ years, I have been able to go online on the Uber platform at my home in Neshoba County. For the past month, Uber has restricted my access to going online. I am prompted with the message, “your vehicle is not allowed to operate in meridian”. Being unable to “go online” and accept passenger requests anywhere in Mississippi violates this rule.
I sent a message to Uber Support regarding the restriction and received the response that Uber is not yet live in Meridian. However, I am able to drive in Gulfport-Biloxi, Jackson, Hattiesburg, and Oxford Mississippi in addition to Chattanooga, Memphis, Knoxville, and Nashville Tennessee.
So, why can’t I drive in Meridian if I can definitely drive everywhere else?