They’ll just leave. If Memphis can’t pass a reasonable ordinance enabling companies like Uber and Lyft to operate here, they’ll just stop like they did when Houston passed onerous rules under pressure from the taxi industry.

While hipsters and suburbanites alike greeted Uber and Lyft with open arms and linked credit cards last summer, our mayor quickly issued a cease and desist order. Since that time the companies have defied the order, continuing to whisk Memphians away to their destinations with a few clicks of an iPhone. Simultaneously, they have worked with members of the public, City Council and representatives of traditional cab service industry to establish rules.

At a recent Transportation Committee meeting, representatives from both sides were present to debate the issue. Councilman Kemp Conrad has led the effort to draft an ordinance that treats these different businesses differently but fairly. The key is making sure the public is safe and the requirements to operate are no more onerous for one business or the other, said several committee members. Representatives of the taxi industry repeatedly called the new ordinance unfair, but according to Conrad had still not submitted comments or suggestions on how to improve it, despite repeated calls and meetings.

Uber and Lyft require their drivers to submit their vehicles to inspection, maintain liability insurance and pass criminal record checks. The companies typically operate under a different set of rules than traditional cab companies because their drivers use their own vehicles, do not accept or carry cash, are more subject to public scrutiny by virtue of the web applications used to manage the service and many work part time.

These differences and others mean it doesn’t work to have them comply with traditional cab service regulations. Most other municipalities have enacted parallel ordinances enabling ride-sharing businesses to operate with many of the same requirements as taxis. In December Nashville passed such an ordinance. The Memphis version tracks Nashville’s by creating a new class of business called a “Transportation Network Company” that would have many of the same requirements as taxi companies such as registration with the city, insurance and the payment of fees to offset the cost of administering the law.

On February 3rd City Council is scheduled to vote after a third reading of the proposed ordinance. Be sure your representative knows where you stand on the issue.