Dallas Wants to Rewrite its Taxi Rules to Outlaw Uber, the App-Based Private Driver Service

UberLogo.jpg
The city of Dallas doesn't buy Uber's oft-repeated claim that it's simply a technology company. Its lawyers made this perfectly clear to the company 10 months ago, when they warned the California-based purveyor of private driver apps to get taxi permits or shut down.

Uber has done neither of those things, which isn't terribly surprising, given the company's penchant for disruption, both of the taxi/limo business and the local governments that regulate them. Before arriving in Dallas, it had already locked horns with officials in San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Chicago. Besides, Uber looked at Dallas' ordinances regulating taxicab and limousine services and declared itself "completely legal."

The city has responded with a mild crackdown. They ticketed Uber for advertising a transportation-for-hire business without a license and gave 61 citations to 31 drivers "found to be driving for an unauthorized service," according to a memo sent to the City Council last week by Assistant City Manager Joey Zapata.

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

The city, however, doesn't seem entirely confident of its legal footing. Zapata is proposing a tweak to the city's transportation rules clarifying that Uber's service is, in fact illegal. The proposed regulation would:

(1)clarify that a person must have operating authority to dispatch a limousine for hire; (2)clarify that a limousine driver may only respond to dispatches from a holder employing or contracting with the driver; (3) require luxury sedans, trucks, sports-utility vehicles, and vans used as limousines to have sticker prices over $45,000 when purchased new, with certain exceptions; (4)prohibit advertising the operation of a limousine service that does not have valid operating authority when the advertisement is reasonably calculated to be heard by persons seeking such service; (5)require limousine service to be prearranged at least 30 minutes before the service is provided; (6)clarify that the use of any type of meter or measuring device in determining the fare for limousine service is prohibited regardless of whether the device is located in the limousine; (7)establish minimum limousine fares; and (8)define "dispatch"

The new provisions, Zapata argues in his memo, will make the transportation-for-hire landscape in Dallas safer, more reliable, and fairer.

The emphasis is clearly on the latter. Dallas' existing cab and limo operators, who are quite familiar with the workings of City Hall, have made their distaste for Uber abundantly clear.

The city, too, has a built-in incentive for targeting Uber. It's not clear from the 2013 budget how much the city collected in fees from taxi and limo companies, but it's a substantial amount. Last year, the city earmarked more than $800,000 of that revenue to crack down on rogue operators. Like Uber.

The City Council will decide Wednesday whether to outlaw Uber in its current form. The people of Twitter are already lobbying against.


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79 comments
dawnquiett
dawnquiett

I cannot believe that my comment that I did not understand why people thought Uber was so great led to the public attacks on my character where I was accused of working for Carol Reed (don't), working for the cab companies (again don't) or according to one idiot "it is a fact" that I am a friends with Carol Reed (never have met her). I am now getting inane messages on my Facebook page from a Mark Allen of Dallas who first told me to "Take your communist ideas and get out of our country" followed by another message of "You are a communist and you don't belong in America". When I asked him why he thought I was a Communist and seriously is that even a real insult any more?  This is his response: "I'm a constitutionalist (sic) and you are attempting to tread on my freedom with your communism. Go to Cuba, they will love you there!". Awesome! Who knew I had that much power-treading on his freedom with my communism. Wow. I would love to go to Cuba. I heard they have great beaches. 

He adds: It's ok to have different opinions, but the constitution is a symbol of freedom. Freedom of individuals and freedom of business. Your continued comments and support for Dallas can companies is nothing short of support for a communistic transportation system that does nothing to support freedom. The can companies desire is for a communistic transportation environment that does nothing to promote an increase in efficiency or quality of service". 

I was going to respond to his completely stupid rant privately but then I thought why?  These people had no problem going after me in a public forum and making things up about me. So here we go. Oh, unlike the other people, I will NOT be making anything up. 

I suppose it is too much to expect that someone which is a political theory in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs. At what point did I suggest that the government become the owner of the cab companies? (The answer would be, I didn't)

So he can support one company only and that is freedom of business which by the way is NOT GUARANTEED in the Constitution but I don't like the company and I am communist. The cab companies (or as Mark Allen of Dallas callas them  "can" companies) do not want a "communist" system, they want a monopoly. And from his poorly written inane comments, it sounds like he wants to put the other companies out of business and give Uber an monopoly. I could be wrong. That is an awfully complex thought and I doubt anything he wrote was even given that much thought. Here is a thought. Maybe if Uber is that great and that successful, the other companies will have better service so they can compete. But as of right now, it sounds like the owners of the cab companies don't want to do that. They would rather run another company out of town. (WHICH I NEVER SUGGESTED AS AN OPTION)

I never at any point suggested that Uber not be allow to operate in Dallas. All I said was I didn't think Uber was that great and didn't think Yellow Cab was all that bad. I had a very bad experience Uber so bad that I will not try it again. 

But I have enjoyed reading all of the ridiculous posts about me. And I loved (and am proud) being a called a communist by Mr. Mark Allen of Dallas. I think I will get myself a t-shirt that says communist just so people can recognize what I am without actually having to know anything.

dashdash5000
dashdash5000

FACE IT PUBLIC .... CITY officials in dallas would rather see you ride in cabs with filty stinking  drivers , some dont speak english and is not properply registered  and are driving the cab of a cousin from uguanda  kenya or nigeria  the dept of transportation do not properly  register drivers  they dont check criminal history outside of the USA . cause they fill it dont matter?? and my kids are suppose to ride in a cab?? omg my grandmother uses uber now ! its just safe. the cab companys instead of worrying about your pockets you need to worry bout being shut out completely to a service dallas really need (uber)   cab companies need to focus on  getting some of those social security check getting older drivers whom can barely see let alone drive some one to the airport. i rode with a man whom had to be 90 years old who drove on the wrong side of the street. i got out the car and caught a bus home .. lol cab companies are jokes in this city

dashdash5000
dashdash5000

proof that the city is in cohoops with  dallas cab industry .it is so clear to the public that the city of dallas will do anything to camoflauge their own indiscretions and lies by allowing the cab companies to pay under the table for taxi favors  the cab companies fear uber because now dallas residents have a choice to drive in filty cabs with drunk drivers or be safe with people with no criminal record. the foreign cab drivers criminal history is not checked outside of the united states to see if they have crimanal records they come to america due to political assylum. not crimes they have committed . my kids are safe not riding in cabs for sure . 

the cab services need to be cleaned up from bottom to top first start with the  taxi permitt issue policy first

al.renteri3
al.renteri3

Cab service stinks in Dallas. We need options here.

casiepierce
casiepierce

Car service. Taxi cab. Two different things. Dallas needs to get it together. 


Also, interesting that Carol Reed is representing the cab companies...........

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

We'll never be World Class without Gypsy Cabs.  NYC has them.  They make life in the bike lane more exciting.

D.H.
D.H.

Really?....."(3) require luxury sedans, trucks, sports-utility vehicles, and vans used as limousines to have sticker prices over $45,000 when purchased new, with certain exceptions;"...."(5)require limousine service to be prearranged at least 30 minutes before the service is provided;" 

When people are out partying and make the MATURE decision to call a car service, rather than drive drunk, you want them to wait an extra 30 minutes because why?  Is that the safest and best we can do for visitors, conventioneers and women, whether they are alone or in groups. 

If we are marketing and promoting Dallas as a convention choice and expect to compete with sophisticated cities, we need to make it as easy and familiar, as possible with visitors and guests.  

It's not hard to audit an app for the proper collection of tax.

The cab companies really need to get with the program and get apps, for their CONTRACTED CAB DRIVERS. The efficiency would save them a stink load of money and add to their bottom line. It's not that hard. Happy to make recommendations. Competition makes everyone better!

RobertStinson
RobertStinson

I am very curious how the Uber story will be presented in the DMN and by certain bloggers. The old Dallas, business-as-usual angle will focus on the "poor, downtrodden cab drivers." The enlightened angle will focus on the anti-Uber cronyism and Dallas' transportation issues.

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

Is it illegal to outsource your dispatch service?  Are there any other services that are illegal for cab companies or black car drivers to outsource?  Garbage collection, payroll, merchant card processing, landscaping, retirement fund management, car repair?  Does city hall need to also set up regulations for those services?  Are not those services just as important to the safe operation of the car?

Kevin Snearley
Kevin Snearley

Who is this "Dallas" person and why does he get to decide?

J_A_
J_A_

Über is pricier than taxis yet I pick them almost every time. They actually show up (you can track them on the way!) and no cash required. It's almost like Dallas wants people to get DUIs.

Chad Lalonde
Chad Lalonde

instead of driving a popular service out of business. Level the playing field. Remove the restrictions from the cab companies. Something tells me Uber would still win out.

dallasdrilling.wordpress.com
dallasdrilling.wordpress.com

Scott Griiggs just posted on Facebook that he along with Kingston just pulled the item for individual consideration at Wednesdays council meeting.. He's asking for everyone to show up at city council on Wednesday and/or sign up to speak. Details are on his Facebook page. Get busy.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

You know why people love Uber,

1. they show up on time,

2.wont leave you stranded at 2 am at a bar, and wont tell you that if you are sober enough to call them to complain you have not picked up, you can drive,

3. they wont fuck with a meter,

4. they wont go the long way around town to pad the fare, they know where they are going.  I seriously had a cabbie try to take 635 to get me to downtown Dallas when its obvious the faster way is south out of the airport to 183.

5. I dont have to have cash so that when the cab says credit accepted, the driver still tells you he "cant take credit card tonight, system down"

dallasdrilling.wordpress.com
dallasdrilling.wordpress.com

The taxi companies have a direct tie to the NAACP. This will first go the Transportation Committee head by Vonciel Hill. Unless these commenters on DO start emailing their city council person, how do you think this will turn out?

amuse2
amuse2

Based on this line of reasoning, the City ought to ban Look Cinemas. Their offering is SOOOO much better than Studio Movie Grill it is 'unfair'. You won't catch me dead in a Studio Movie Grill now that Look is here and that isn't fair to SMG. I hope the City gets on this ASAP. #dallasneedsuber #ireallylikelookcinemastoo

amuse2
amuse2

#dallasneedsuber Seriously, I've been in using Uber in San Francisco for years. When Uber came to Dallas, Dallas got a LOT more livable. One of the best features of Uber? The rating system. Both the driver and the rider get to rate one another helping to filter out the bad actors. Just last week I landed in NYC, pressed the Uber button and within moments I was on my way to mid-town. When I was ready to get back to the airport I pressed it again and, again, with in moments I was on my way. When I arrived in Dallas I pressed the Uber button again and moments later I was on my way home. All of this happened without having to pull out a credit card, argue or negotiate a fare or wonder how much I should tip the driver - Uber did it all for me. All I had to do? Enjoy the ride and rate the experience. The city should stay out of the way - cab companies and limo companies need to innovate...

apereira
apereira

Uber's service in Dallas is EXCELLENT. Pickup times are short, your driver gets there on time, the cars are clean and comfortable, you can estimate upfront how much your ride is going to cost, and you're not hassled at the end of the ride: you just say "thank you" to the driver, and the money changes hands instantly. In short: Uber is EVERYTHING YELLOW CAB AND COWBOY CAB ARE NOT. If Dallas city regulations are making Uber's service difficult, it is the regulations that should be killed—NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. In a city that prides itself on its innovation and capitalist ethos, it is a shame that some city politicians are caving into the ANTICOMPETITIVE desires of a couple of lousy incumbent companies. Capitalism works when we allow innovation to flourish. Often, that involves some creative destruction to reshape an industry. If the taxi companies can reshape themselves to compete with new, better services like Uber, so much the better. If not, the taxi companies should be allowed to join the BUGGY WHIP MAKERS in the dustbin of industries that we've outgrown.

apereira
apereira

Uber's service in Dallas is EXCELLENT. Pickup times are short, your driver gets there on time, the cars are clean and comfortable, you can estimate upfront how much your ride is going to cost, and you're not hassled at the end of the ride: you just say "thank you" to the driver, and the money changes hands instantly. In short: Uber is EVERYTHING YELLOW CAB AND COWBOY CAB ARE NOT. If Dallas city regulations are making Uber's service difficult, it is the regulations that should be killed—NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. In a city that prides itself on its innovation and capitalist ethos, it is a shame that some city politicians are caving into the ANTICOMPETITIVE desires of a couple of lousy incumbent companies. Capitalism works when we allow innovation to flourish. Often, that involves some creative destruction to reshape an industry. If the taxi companies can reshape themselves to compete with new, better services like Uber, so much the better. If not, the taxi companies should be allowed to join the BUGGY WHIP MAKERS in the dustbin of industries that we've outgrown.

jmckee3
jmckee3

You know Taxis are actually cheaper than Uber, sometimes much cheaper. You know why I still take Uber? Because cab drivers are as a whole an awful group, they egregiously violate safety laws, they are rude, attempt to rip you off at every turn, will deny you service if you try and use a credit card or they think they can get a better fare from someone else against city law.

Just try and get a cab from the gayborhood to Uptown at 2AM. It isn't going to happen unless you find a particularly nice cab driver and maybe bribe them and show you are paying in cash, they will flat out refuse to take you. I've had to just walk home before after spending 30 minutes trying to get a cab. And if by some miracle you manage to get a cab to your house without mentioning you are using a credit card which they are required by law to take they will berate you and threaten to call the police if you don't pay for a cab ride to an ATM to pay them in cash. And try calling for a cab, they will maybe show up 

And watch the extra button, they routinely add an extra few dollars to the bill thinking you won't notice when they add the fuel surcharge, I've been thrown out of cab for politely mentioning that they "accidentally" overcharged me.

And on top of all that they demand a tip. And I do tip, I'm good tipper but not when you tip yourself by adding $3 to my cab charge which they do all the time. I don't tip thieves, the extras you added to my charge is your tip. And try complaining about any of this behavior to the city or the cab company, the cab companies will be rude and hang up on you, the city will take your report, promise to follow up with you and you never hear from them again.

On the other end Uber is clean cars with comfy seats, polite drivers who follow traffic law and honest and easy billing, it's worth the extra cost because the cabs won't provide the basic level of service that they law requires them to do.

So screw the cabs, what are they going to do? Are cabs going to leave Dallas because Uber is offering a premium service? Uber is more expensive, if I could trust cabs I would probably take a cab home from the gayborhood at 2AM but I can't so I'll pay more for Uber.

Look at everyone's reaction to this story, everyone hates the cab companies and the cab companies refuse to follow the law as it is now so I see no reason to protect their business from competition.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

Cabs suck.

That's what all of this really boils down to.  When you are running a business in modern America, and you suck, (see: cabs, phone companies, banks, cable companies, movie theaters) when a new competitor that doesn't suck appears, you run to the government and say, "I will give you a bunch of money if you tell my new competitors to stop competing with me or you will send men in black armor to come and shoot them."  

All of these sucky businesses are irretrievable broken.  Their system sucks.  Their employees suck.  Their entire business model consists of, "fuck you, you don't have any other choices."  When it turns out that consumers do have a choice, they have only two options -- take away that choice, or slowly die.  

That is why the cab companies want to take away the uber choice. 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Regulate my ass.  The City has hooked up its out-of-towner tax to taxis in order to help float its entertainment infrastructure.  It can't be taxed, which drives the abolition of it solely on those grounds.

And no wonder Uber just raised $238 million on Wall Street - they are avoiding the draconian taxes.  So kill 'em.

And this is the sickness that pervades today's social democracy America.  In the name of the public good (and social justice) every two-bit agency from local to federal says no. Mergers, EPA, OSHA, FDA, USDA you name it.  We have over 2 million bureaucrats standing in the way.

And it has slugged down free enterprise to a looping Groundhog Day.  Nobody can figure out why we are stuck in low gear.  The Misery Index is back in vogue.

Capitalism is treated like salmon.  Nowhere to go but upstream or die.  So no matter what blocks and diversions, no matter the harness the various taxing authorities bridle the fish who must swim against the current . . . they know fish must head upstream to spawn.

A place already populated with bears and eagles.  Now we got the Left to finish the job.


Elizabeth Brown
Elizabeth Brown

I love Über! It is an amazing service, and I prefer it over calling a taxi and crossing my fingers.

Jen Zimmerman
Jen Zimmerman

Don't ya'll remember the big "issue" with city officials getting kickbacks and "gifts" from the Taxi companies? Please don't take our ONLY solution from us... Uber is the BEST

wilme2
wilme2

Taxis in Dallas are sorry lot. Nearly all tied up in a dispatch monopoly. I prefer eFrogs or Uber when I have a choice. #DallasNeedsUber

RobertStinson
RobertStinson

I have enjoyed reading the anti-Uber comments of Dawn Quiett on the DMN website. Quiett, who is in PR, said she is not working for the cab companies, which I learned is is true. However, she has not disclosed her friendship with Carol Reed who persuaded the City to put the anti-Uber item on the consent agenda. Ms. Quiett has also not disclosed her business relationship with Reed. She has one.

D.H.
D.H.

Every parent of kids attending colleges and universities in Dallas County needs to contact the City of Dallas and make their voices heard to let us keep UBER.  

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@JaniceA To the City, DUI stands for Discovered Unbudgeted Income.

jmckee3
jmckee3

@ScottsMerkin I live on the block of Bowen and McKinney and the place I most frequently take cabs to is the Gayborhood so Cedar Springs. Bowen and Ceder Springs are the same road, it's Bowen east of Turtle Creek and Cedar Springs west. I've had cab drivers on numerous occasions drive south on McKinney Ave many many times to take Cedar Springs all the way, it's almost twice as far. And this is with them completely ignoring my pleas to turn left and take Bowen.

Also I really want an explanation for the Turtle Creek/Bowen/Cedar Springs intersection, it's really fun trying to give people directions to my house. "Okay, go straight on Cedar Springs and it turns into Bowen. Yes, Cedar Springs intersects with itself, keep going straight. I know, it makes no sense, just keep going straight." 

RobertStinson
RobertStinson

Movie theaters aren't regulated like cab companies, silly.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@jmckee3

On the other end Uber is clean cars with comfy seats, polite drivers who follow traffic law and honest and easy billing, it's worth the extra cost because the cabs won't provide the basic level of service that they law requires them to do.

THIS ^^^^^

Also, there's almost no reason for the racism you see from cabs, also. Cabbies rationalize away the racism, because "they don't want to get robbed."  Well, there's practically no way for them to get robbed with Uber.  There's no money changing hands.  You know exactly who you are picking up.  Their credit card is on file.  The danger element is gone.

An uber driver agrees to pick you up before he knows what you look like, and he's not going to ditch your call just because he has a better fare on the line.  That is HUGE.

wilme2
wilme2

@everlastingphelps "you will send men in black armor to come and shoot them."  

Did you notice that the regular agenda item #5 is for the DPD to buy another armored personnel carrier?  So if you sign up to speak on Uber, be sure to sign up for addendum item #5 and not regular item #5.  Cause otherwise you are going to end up talking about SWAT...

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@holmantxRegulate my ass. 

If there were any graft opportunities in your ass, they would have already regulated it.

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

@RobertStinson According to her rants on DMN, she does not drive at all.  but on the plus side, according to her LinkedIn page, she was the who's who of high school two years in a row and Im guessing her girl scout training has prepared her for a marketing/PR business where I imagine you have to have marketing materials from time to time and lugging those on DART and in cabs.

Additional Honors & Awards

Best Press Kit For The Sixth Floor Museum's Artist and Icon: Warhol and Jackie exhibit from the American Association of Museums and the Texas Association of Museums, I was in Who's Who for two years in a row in high school, Girl Scout Silver Award

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

@D.H. Most importantly, let them keep operating the way they are, I don't need a city ordinance to tell me the difference between a cab, a driver and a limo. I understood my waiver when I signed up for the app.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@jmckee3 @ScottsMerkin  

My favorite is: It is at the intersection of Cedar Springs and Cedar Springs".  Which is also the intersection of Turtle Creek and Cedar Springs; or, Turtle Creek and Bowen; take your pick.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

@whocareswhatithink @RobertStinson I know Dawn actually, she does in fact not drive. Now whether she is working PR for a cab company I don't know, but I can confirm that part. She's also a really sweet chick. I alerted her to this and maybe we can get an explanation that's not behind a paywall.

I haven't used a cab in a few years and have never used uber, so I have no stake in this. But we all know this comes down to money for the city.

RobertStinson
RobertStinson

@whocareswhatithink @RobertStinson Huh. I understood Dawn was a long-term East Dallas resident. And she doesn't own a car? She uses cab service to get around instead? Uh huh. It sounds like Carol Reed learned from Mike Snyder and is taking a different approach to sock puppetry.

D.H.
D.H.

@whocareswhatithink I had to travel to NY quite a bit over an 18 year stretch and we took a car service whenever possible. My parents are no longer living, but if they were and given the option, I'd prefer they take a car service.

dawnquiett
dawnquiett

@RobertStinson Not sure where you get your "facts" or do you just make up things? Not friends with Carol Reed. Never have met Carol Reed. Don't work for Yellow Cab or any other cab company.  There is not a conspiracy behind everything. Just a person who does publicity arts groups, films, etc. who doesn't like Uber. Do you work for Uber? I know for a "fact" you did since your post are so pro-Uber. (see how ridiculous that is?)

dawnquiett
dawnquiett

@D.H. Seriously? I never called this race issue. Never. 

D.H.
D.H.

@RobertStinson

She is nice but one persons opinion, paid or otherwise, does not matter, if it does not change the course of the conversation.

I am disappointed that she is bringing race into the convo. Unfortunately, it is that kind of spin that gives one a clue somebody is paying her.

It is insulting to minorities and council members in South Dallas to call this a black issue.  That the powers that be, in Dallas, haven't figured that out in the 21st century and continue to hire the same old PR bullshit houses, is beyond me. I don't care what color a driver UBER sends me, as long as they know where I am and how to get where I want to go, in an efficient manner that makes life easier. 

If they have a good reasonable argument, respect us enough, as taxpayers, to talk to us about it and let's have an intelligent and race free discussion. Man, that ticks me off. Is this sweeps week?  

RobertStinson
RobertStinson

@P1Gunter @whocareswhatithink @RobertStinson Whether she is working on the taxi cab campaign is immaterial. The fact that she is friends with Carol Reed, has work with her in the past and is doing her a favor with her posts is very material.

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

@RobertStinson @whocareswhatithink According to her rants on DMN, she does not own a car, Ive done a copy and paste.. she also mentions she had to deal with a stalker cab driver and the cab company helped her "press chargers"...and yet still fights for the cab companies, maybe she sued them and got a settlement, thus part of the settlement is not talking bad about cab companies - who knows??

Cut and Paste

Dawn QuiettNEW13 hours agoI am in PR but I am not in PR for yellow cab. I truly believe Uber is crap, overrated and overpriced. I don't think that a company that has no way to respond to customers should be lauded. I don't drive so I take cabs all of the time. I also take DART. Ask me how feel about how DART police treats black people. I am just opinionated and stupid enough to state them.

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