The City Wants Uber, the On-Demand Private Driver App, to Get a Taxi Permit or Shut Down

uber.jpg
Update on January 7.: Uber's Dallas GM, Leandre Johns, says the company's attorneys have looked into the matter and determined that its operation in the city is "completely legal." His full statement is below.

Uber, the on-demand private-driver startup, was stirring controversy even before it launched in Dallas last fall.

Local cab and limousine companies in particular were wary of the new competition, particularly since Uber considers itself a technology company and tends to ignore the onerous and costly regulations applied to traditional transportation providers.

"We don't own the cars. We don't employ drivers," Uber chief exeuctive Travis Kalanick told the Dallas Business Journal. "We partner with the small businesses in the city."

That distinction is a bit too fine for the city of Dallas, which has sent Uber a letter kindly asking the company to cut it out.

"We understand that Uber is currently offering transportation services via luxury vehicles with private drivers in Dallas," assistant city attorney Christopher Bowers wrote, noting that Uber's business seems to fall squarely within the city's definition of a taxi or limousine service.

"Please confirm that Uber will cease providing taxicab service or limousine service in the City until it has obtained appropriate operating authority and is in full compliance with applicable regulations," the letter concludes.

I have an email out to Uber's press people. They haven't responded yet, but the company has shown in the past that it's not shy about battling with cities over regulations and whether they do or do not apply to Uber. Here's betting Dallas won't be shy either as it eyes Uber and sees lost licensing revenue. And cabbies are still pissed, too.

Uber's response:

The use of Uber's technology in Dallas is completely legal. The regulations cited by the City apply to limousine companies. Uber does not provide transportation, own vehicles or employ drivers. Our technology simply connects people seeking rides with licensed transportation providers. Our counsel has looked into the issues raised and we believe that the service we offer is in compliance with the cited regulations.

Uber is a cutting edge transportation technology and generally, the regulations from regulatory bodies have not been written with these innovations in mind. As such, we are happy to meet with the City of Dallas to discuss this new generation of technology and work closely with the City to ensure compliance and keep our service available for our customers and driver partners.

Our commitment is to facilitate an improved transportation option that provides safe, reliable, and convenient travel. That will not change.


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
26 comments
corporateexpresslimo
corporateexpresslimo

If you maintain publishing well prepared posts just like this then I will always preserve returning back to your website. Truly great content.

todd
todd

I wonder if the cab companies have an App.  Seems like a logical response to the Uber Cab presence. 

Dub919
Dub919

I've used Uber a few times now and, while costing a slight bit more than a cab, it beats the hell out of the shitbag taxi operators in this city. I took a cab from our place in Downtown to Love Field a few weeks ago. The driver didn't bother to turn on the meter, and the fare came out to about $25 (despite the fact there was no documentation in/on the car stating a flat fee to Love Field), In addition to that possibly-made-up fare, we were met with a ton of hassle from the driver about not having cash and plenty of less-than-subtle demanding for a tip.

On the flip side, I've taken Uber for similar distances for roughly the same price without the haggling about a tip (it is, apparently, included in fare) and no "additional rider" charges. Long and short, this is the local cab companies complaining because someone with a better product and business model are moving in on their turf...and, the city seeing an opportunity to double-dip. All of the drivers I've met in Dallas via Uber seem quite happy with the way the system works and are already paying the proper permits for regular limo/town car service.

UberScam
UberScam

Do not support UBER. For the last 7 months I've been a driver for this service via one of their "partners" and I've found that its a scam, all the way around. As they state, UBER doesnt have any drivers or cars. They partner with random people who paid for the appropriate licenses for secondhand SUVs and towncars, all very fuel ineffecient and expensive to operate. The car owners dont usually drive the vehicles themselves, they find people to drive for them under the false pretense that you can make alot of money if you put alot of time in. These drivers have to bear the brunt of all operational costs such as gas, tolls, car washes, the stupid bottled water etc. Uber takes 25-35% right off the top and whatever is left over is split between vehicle owner and driver. This model would only work if Uber had a consistent stream of business, which they dont at all. Here in their home market of San Francisco, they have put an army of drivers on the roads (every third car is a towncar), and via incredibly smart business moves like "surge pricing" and sending people an email before NYE saying that basically you could expect to pay a minimum of 100 before time and mileage they've alienated themselves from any potential customers (over the last 2 months ridership for Uber has dropped by at least 80%...this was figured by examining several drivers trip logs for the last 2 months). As a result, drivers are actually unable to pay their bills or continue driving for Uber because they can't afford gas. It's also created the problem of these hungry drivers just turning into gypsy cabs and trying to pick up people on the side of the road (which is illegal). 


The other issue that should really concern you as a consumer is that these drivers dont have to pass a drug test, background test or a real driving test. Typically a driver will find an ad on a site like craigslist, meet the poster (random guy that owns the car). The potential diver will be sent to Ubers offices to take a multiple choice street knowledge test on an ipad along with an extremely brief face to face interview then they can start driving. There is no guarantee that this person is actually legal to work in the US, they arent drug addicts, wanted criminals...you have no idea who these people are. Another issue is the way the fare is ascertained is via gps, which for Uber is wrong 90% of the time.

Whatever may be wrong with the transportation situation in Dallas, it does not need Uber. They dont support the drivers that "drive" their revenue stream, they try to sell a total line of B.S. to the consumer and really its not safe. Second hand cars with underpaid, undertrained drivers who could be anyone...doe this seem like disruption or a recipe for disaster? 

MisterMean
MisterMean

This seems to me to be just another way for Dallas to get $$$$.   The city is more concerned with $$$$ than making the city a better place for it's citizens.  

roo_ster
roo_ster

Nitwit & corrupt 19th century gov't and commerce models deserve to get slammed by 21st century innovation.  I hope Dallas gov't gets handed an humiliating defeat.

McBeese
McBeese

Uh oh, trouble!  My Admin Assistant is going to have to get a city of Dallas taxi license.  I ask her to  arrange rides to and from the airport for me, she has my credit card info, and I pay her for the service.

If Uber were using unlicensed companies or drivers, I would be on the side of the city.  That could lead to many problems.  However, given that Uber is exclusively using services and drivers that are already licensed by the city, I say bugger off to bureaucrats who don't understand Uber and who are just pandering to the taxi companies.

I just gave my two teenagers Uber accounts for Christmas.  In the gift card I created, I wrote "Now I know you will NEVER have to get into a car if you or your friends are in no shape to drive.  You don't have to make the painful decision to call Dad for a ride, you don't need to look up the number for a cab, and you don't need to think twice about how much it will cost or how to pay for it.  The ride is on my account and is my treat when you need it – and nothing will make me happier than for you to use my gift.  All you need to do is open the app and summon a ride.  The ride will come get you (and your friends) and deliver you safely home.  Our discussion regarding the circumstances will wait until the morning after a good night's sleep for all of us."

WylieH
WylieH

Once again, the City of Dallas wages its ongoing warfare against the general welfare of its residents/captives.

Uber's drivers in Dallas are already licensed by the City of Dallas; God forbid the city's residents be allowed to have access to technology which makes the hiring of such car services more efficient.  And yes, let's throw up more obstacles to people who want an alternative means of getting transportation other than their own private vehicles after consuming alcohol.

This is yet another example of the "crony capitalism" which gives the City of Dallas such a bad name.  Mary Suhm and her bloated legal department should remember that they are public servants, not "enforcers" for the existing taxi cab cartel.

andrewdtx
andrewdtx

@everlastingphelps 

Dallas' response & requests, in relation to other resisting cities, has been the least demanding of them all.  

DC & NYC getting their asses handed to them? Hardly.  If Uber wants to operate in NYC it'll cost them & every other e-hailing service $50,000 for a license.  In D.C., they'll have to jump from being a "platform" to being required that their fleet consists of a certain percentage of wheelchair accessible vehicles and a whole bunch of other requirements.

Do I think cities are still playing catch up to the 21st century? Yes.  Has Uber's approach to new markets in regards to current regulations been the best? Absolutely not.  Had Uber taken an approach like that of Hail-o and actually met with officials first they might have saved themselves a lot of trouble & been able to positively influence how FHV platforms are regulated in the future.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

Dallas is obviously run by morons.  DC and NYC have already tried this bullshit and had their asses handed to them by Uber in court.  Just another instance of Dallas being a day late and dollar short on top of being wrong.

WylieH
WylieH

@todd Yellow Cab did, but it was total crap.  Their website looks like something a 10 year old would have created 15 years ago.

No reason to be innovative or customer friendly when you have a cushy oligopoly protected by City of Dallas bureaucrats and taxpayer funded legal teams.

keepcensoringDO
keepcensoringDO

@UberScam I don't think the word "scam" means what you think it means. Were the terms disclosed to you? Then it wasn't a scam. Did they misrepresent the arrangement somehow? Then yes it is a scam. Sounds like you just didn't like the arrangement. That doesn't make it a scam.


Or you are just a shill. 


Either way you seem stupid. 

1234
1234

@UberScam You sound pathetic. I've used Uber multiple times and have always asked my drivers whether they're happy with the service. I never got anything less than a resounding "Yes". 

Ridership has decreased 80% according to an "examination of several drivers' logs"? Lol - way to extrapolate from "several" cases (which I somehow sense you haven't even "examined" in the first place) to thousands of drivers across 20+ cities. 

And by the way, the rating system is just one of the many mechanisms employed by Uber to ensure the absence of recklessness, drug use, etc. Are you perhaps projecting your own shortcomings in this comment? 

I wish you all the best, but PLEASE consider abstaining from such groundless (and downright absurd) rants about a service that has clearly garnered considerable support from consumers, drivers, and some of the best investors in the world. Don't make yourself look stupid.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@UberScam THese drivers surely cant be any worse than the shitty ass cab drivers we have here in Dallas.  These mother fuckers dont know what a red light means, dont understand that pedestrians have the right of way in a cross walk, dont know how the fuck to even get around downtown, much less drive you to the burbs, and cant keep an on time schedule for an appointment time to be picked up

WylieH
WylieH

@MisterMean Agreed; collecting money plus protecting the oh-so-well politically connected owners of Cowboy Cab and Yellow Cab.

rusknative
rusknative

@MisterMean Al Lipscome knew how to use licensed Dallas cabs to scam money for himself...seems Dallas forgets hot the "legal cabs" are not so hot for citizens....maybe they need to charge parking for the elected city officials at downtown and municipal parking lots to get money....how about that?

McBeese
McBeese

@keepcensoringDO They are services and drivers already licensed by the city.  Most of them are members of the limo fleets that companies use today.

FEDUP
FEDUP

@WylieH it's not as you say "crony capitalism" you fucking "MORON!" It's socialist politicians who have what little brain cells (as you do) who think they can tell the citizens what they can and can't do................................................... 'without them'!!

marvin
marvin

Does Dallas have wheelchair accessible cabs?  Cabs are all vans now, which are hard to get into from a wheelchair.  I called some of the bigger companies.  They said they don't have any.

wynnedutch
wynnedutch

@everlastingphelps they are unable to read news.  plus, i believe to be a "small business partner" you have to be a licensed driver.  damn unions screwing things up again.  way to go.  uber is an awesome tech/app.

UberScam
UberScam

@1234...When approach another Uber driver and ask them driver to driver how their night went or what their last few weeks has been like, I hear nothing but bad things. Ive actually made it a point to hang out in the hotel district while waiting for fares and talk to the other drivers over the past few months. A group of us have gotten together to compare notes over the last few weeks; this is where the 80% figure comes from (it's a rough figure but one we all agree is close to accurate). Maybe in other markets they have better management but I doubt it. 

This "rant' is not even close to absurd and I welcome you to disprove any of it with cold hard fact. No background checks, no drug tests...thats fact. Shitty second hand lincoln towncars and chevy suburbans everywhere in SF being driven by some random person? Fact again.

 You sound like one of the arrogant douchebags that work for Uber. Instead of doing any real advertising they pay people to troll the internet and post spin based responses in talkback forums just like this.


@keepcensoringDO ...actually, yes the arrangement was misrepresnted. Greatly, in fact. So much so I've considered filing a suit against Uber myself. And after reading your other posts I realize you are a moron and a troll.

MisterMean
MisterMean

@rusknative 

would have to agree on the idea about charging parking for our elected officials.  Felt that way when they were (the city council) were upset about the citizens using the Dallas City Hall underground parking and the “to do” about the underground walk way tunnels.   They should walk or take the DART trains to city hall, commissioners court or Dallas ISD admin building.   Random financial audits on top city employees and elected officals (at all levels) would be nice too.

WylieH
WylieH

@FEDUP If you really think that the City's leaders are motivated by socialist leanings rather than some good ole' fashioned mutual backscratching with the owners of Yellow Cab, Cowboy Cab and Star Cab, I'd say you are a bit naive.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...