Dallas Swears It's Not Trying to Crush Uber, Just Regulate it into an Unrecognizable Form

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Uber
The local Twitterverse is currently exploding with people explaining why Dallas needs Uber and why City Hall shouldn't shut it down: Because cabs in Dallas suck; because it increases competition; because you can't stop progress.

The city, meanwhile, says everyone is overreacting. The proposed ordinance, which would require a 30-minute wait between reservation and pickup and require Uber vehicles to be ordered not by app but by a city-authorized dispatcher, isn't intended to ban Uber, just add some "minor clarifications" to current rules allow the service to continue operating, albeit in a completely unrecognizable form.

"It is important for the public to be aware that if the City has no way of regulating this type of transportation service, the public might have no recourse should the vehicle be involved in an accident; should the consumer experience a pay dispute; or any other consumer related or safety issue with the service," the city wrote in its official response, which it posted to Facebook. "This action protects the consumers that enjoy this service."

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

"I don't buy it one bit," said Councilman Philip Kingston, who called B.S. on the proposal as soon as it hit his inbox late Friday evening.

"It was frankly snuck onto the addendum matrix [for Wednesday's City Council meeting] on Friday afternoon after we've left City Hall," Kingston said. Even worse, it was placed on the consent agenda, meaning it was to be voted on without discussion. "It looks really bad," he says. "It looks like staff is trying to write policy."

That, of course, is the City Council's job, and thanks to Kingston, Councilman Scott Griggs, and several of their colleagues, that's what it will get a chance to do. As The Dallas Morning News reported a bit ago, the item has been pulled for a full discussion.

Kingston isn't yet sure how exactly the city should deal with Uber, just that it's an important policy issue that shouldn't be handled by the city manager's office sneaking through crushing regulations. "I think the first way we need to tackle it is in the sunlight."

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71 comments
dontfeelbadforuber
dontfeelbadforuber

I take cabs all of the time. Most of the time they are there within 10 to 15 minutes, clean and take a credit card if I need to. Uber has no direct customer support, only uses credit cards and an app that doesn't always work. The cab companies have not been that above board historically but most of their drivers are just hard workers mostly from Africa who are just trying to make a better life for their families. Know why some don't take credit? Cab companies don't pay them the fare or tip for 2 or 3 weeks after the fare. Most waiters an waitresses prefer you tip in cash for the same reason. 

rnox
rnox

Perfect example of why Dallas sucks. Thank god I moved to NYC, a real city. If all 15 million of us can manage to stay "protected" while ordering our ubers via app, then surely the people of Dallas should be allowed to do the same. Thankful for my uber suburban arriving within 2 minutes this morning :)

rlenelson
rlenelson

Right because people are going to go to the city when McDonalds charges them too much for a Big Mac.  Lets get real Dallas, and government in general.  Let commerce happen, and the economy will grow.

Americano
Americano

This is good news for every Bookie, Drug Dealer and illegal Bar Owner who now know that Dallas Vice is ignoring them to focus on running a business into the ground because it doesn't bribe the city Council Members.

ryan762
ryan762

How does not being able to order through an app protect consumers?

How does a 30-minute wait between appointment and pick-up protect consumers?

I had a pay dispute with a licensed cabbie in 2001. Still waiting for the city to start the process of sorting that out.

wilme2
wilme2

What does eFrogs have to say about this?  They are tips-only due to the current ordinance.  What change would they like to see to the Dallas Taxi regulations?

http://www.e-frogsdallas.com/

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 "It is important for the public to be aware that if the City has no way of regulating this type of transportation service, the public might have no recourse should the vehicle be involved in an accident;

Except for the recourse they always have, with lawsuits and insurance claims

 should the consumer experience a pay dispute; 

Except for the fact that it is all conducted via credit cards, which have entire departments devoted to pay disputes and handle them much better than the city ever has

or any other consumer related or safety issue with the service,"

Except that Uber actually does something if a driver has an unsafe car (at the most basic, everyone rates them badly and uber drops them from the service.) The city, meanwhile, calls a handful of counsel members to see how their bank accounts look before they decide how to handle "consumer related" issues with cabs.

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

So are we going to get a update as to who authorized using under cover vice cops to cite these drivers?

Adam Davis
Adam Davis

I don't get it. Seems like everyone in NYC loves über and couldn't wait for it to become active. But new yorkers also like ZipCar, public transit, bicycle sharing, and 24-hour food delivery to mention a few things Dallas seems to not enjoy for some reason. Surely the local cab companies wouldn't even feel the introduction of uber. People are still going to call cabs. Way less people actively use apps like this than what is perceived. Maybe I don't miss living in Dallas as much as I thought ...

rachelgal
rachelgal

Let uber be, but with all the regulation that cab companies and taxi drivers are subject to is hard to compete with a deregulated uber cab. The real innovation of Uber is deregulation, I'm for it' but let's be fair to everybody. Since there is no stop for 'innovation' the discussion should be how to deregulate the taxi industry, unless Councilman Philip Kingston for$ee a better future.

Charles Tiry Honeycutt
Charles Tiry Honeycutt

Dallas finally gets an amazing taxi service and the political cronies are trying to shut them down to protect their politically connected friends with their old, nasty, smelly, embarrassingly bad taxi companies that can't compete with Uber.

pak152
pak152

what? you want unregulated business? haahahahaha. way too funny

yoka
yoka

Geez!  Every time I sit down and try to write a gripping account of civic corruption, I tear it up and throw it out because it seems too wildly implausible.  Then the f'ing city of Dallas and/or the DPD write it out for me! 

hilllbillle
hilllbillle

so what about dallas police using undercover vice cops to 'bust' uber's drivers. are you worthless assholes keeping the evil uber drivers from robbing stores or carjacking folks? or were they robbing customers?  61 tickets to 31 drivers for trying to earn an honest living.  what if these uber drivers are forced out of an honest living by big brother and turn to a life of crime. do mayor mike or chief brown give a fuck?

hat2flat
hat2flat

DUI Attorneys, please comment.  If you don't, I can only assume you're lobbying against Uber. 


ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Right. The question for the council is, "how did you get to work today?" Oh, not on horseback? It's called progress. Quit trying to protect buggy whip makers.

marvin
marvin

Kind of a tangent, but are there any wheelchair accessible cabs in Dallas?  Is there a law about that?

the350zz
the350zz

Uber is a phenomenal business with excellent customer service. With that being said, of course the only way Yellow Cab could possibly compete is by having the city step in and impose sanctions. I 'll walk before I ever use Yellow Cab again.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

I don't use either service, so I can't compare the two.  Judging by the comments, seems like Uber is, well, Uber, and cabs kinda suck out loud.  Shouldn't the 'business friendly conservatives' in the Dallas establishment let the free market sort this dispute out?

GeorgeB123
GeorgeB123

A cab company does not employ drivers; the company charges the driver a stand fee (about $200 week) but they are independent contractors. The cab company is really a dispatch service. 

Here comes Uber.com; they don't employ the drivers either; each is an independent limo driver licensed as such by the City of Dallas. Uber.com is a dispatch service, just like the cab company. 

The difference? Uber.com is a better dispatch service. They have invested in the technology to offer consumers a more convenient product than the taxi companies. 

Rather than improve their product, the taxi companies run to the government for protectionist, anti-consumer laws to thwart competitive efficiency. 

Tomas
Tomas

Cue JimS' post that this is all about protecting the rich people that can afford Uber (and like to ride in black sedans) at the expense of the poor people that have to ride in dirty taxis.  

WylieH
WylieH

@wilme2 They haven't given $36,000 to sitting City Council members, so they aren't allowed a seat at the table.

WylieH
WylieH

@rachelgal Uber cars are not "deregulated," they are subject to all City licensing fees, etc., just like regular taxis.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@rachelgal Uber is different than uberX.  This is about the black car service, which are all already licensed limo services.  

I'm all for deregulation of the taxi service in Dallas, but the problem is that Yellow and Cowboy sure as hell don't want deregulation. Regulation is what keeps them on the top.  They have the money to fund the barriers to entry that it creates, just the same way they want special rules for the big boys like the LNG line cutters at Love Field.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@rachelgal cab companies made the regulations the way they are, if they dont like them, then why did they have the laws written the way they are.  Fuck cabs and fuck their dispatchers too

WylieH
WylieH

@hilllbillle There is a strong possibility that there wasn't even any legitimate reason to issue the tickets in the first place.  This has all the makings of a real scandal--- Yellow Cab and Cowboy Cab somehow leaning on their connections to deploy the police in an illegal campaign of harassment.


This is City Hall at its absolute worst.

markzero
markzero

@hilllbillle I wonder if Uber could start a class action lawsuit on behalf of those drivers, who apparently all have legit limo driver licenses from the city.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Wait..explain. have ticketd actually been issued? Again, world crass.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@marvin Fuck Greg Abbott. He can wheel his own worthless ass around if he needs to go anywhere.

markzero
markzero

@RTGolden1 Many businesspeople only tout free market policies when they're the ones trying to break into a market. When it comes to protecting entrenched interests, obviously they're the interests. If they were really keen on the invisible hand, they wouldn't beg for corporate welfare like tax abatements or artificial price floors and subsidies for farmers, etc.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@GeorgeB123 What it really comes down to is that cabs are so expensive that limos can compete with them.  Cabs need to either come down on their rates or come up on their service.  This isn't 1962 anymore.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@Tomas Nah, it will be something about how the cabs companies don't want Uber because it would take away the justification for a toll road along the trinity.

rachelgal
rachelgal

@everlastingphelps @rachelgal Currently Uber is valued at 3.5 billion with a huge lobbying power, from there you can predict the outcome, not hard to figure it out. Taxi companies are fighting uber on the wrong angle and will double loose if they keep their same focus. Their goal should be make their services competitive and improve ,A LOT, and my call is for a fair competition. Do you know that uber hikes the fares according to demand and many uber users then decide for a cheaper cab?

rachelgal
rachelgal

@ScottsMerkin @rachelgal I don't know where do you get your facts from, but the taxi business was not regulated before and it was chaotic. Anyway I can see some passionate strong emotions going on here, I could only wonder.

RobertStinson
RobertStinson

@WylieH @hilllbillle Here's how it probably worked. Cab Companies hire Carol Reed > Reed calls her pal Mary Suhm > Suhm talks with City Manager staff > staff pressures police > New rules on consent agenda > citizens rage on Twitter > city staff panics, retreats > Carol makes her daughter answer questions about this scandel > Mary isn't "officially" City Manager, so she escapes scrutiny....again.

marvin
marvin

@Montemalone I don't like his politics, but I have to agree with you.  You've got to admire the way he gets around.

But seriously, cabs are all vans now, and it's really hard to get into one from a wheelchair.  Are wheelchair users (that aren't Greg Abbott)  just out of luck?

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@markzero @RTGolden1 This.  Yellow and Cowboy have a sweet deal.  They own practically all the cab licenses, and they can make things too expensive for anyone else to break in.  More importantly, they own enough councilmen to keep anyone with the money from breaking in anyways.

Big business stays big business through crony capitalism.  It's why Walmart supported ACA -- they can afford it, and small family owned groceries can't.  It's why Exxon supports "green" policies on drilling -- they can afford to absorb the costs where independent wildcatters can't. 

I'm all for the free market, which certainly isn't crony capitalism like this.

WylieH
WylieH

@rachelgal @everlastingphelps Hiking their fares according to demand... you mean, like airlines, hotels and rental car companies?  Wow, that's pretty radical.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@rachelgal @everlastingphelps Yup, surge pricing is a great idea.  I've been on both sides of it, especially visiting NYC, where the competition between the two is real.  When it's raining in NYC, it's damned near impossible to get a cab.  However, you can get an Uber car -- if you are willing to pay 2x-3x.  In some cases, I was.  In others, I waited for the rain to end and hoofed it to the subway.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@rachelgal @everlastingphelps Gas prices hike according to demand, as do the prices on most things.  From what I understand here, cabbies do a fair job of hiking their own fares by inadvertently hitting the fuel surcharge a couple of extra times.

dsmithy3211
dsmithy3211

@rachelgal Taxi regulations are designed by taxi companies so as to avoid fair competition. Any suggestion that taxi companies now don't have the opportunity to "fairly compete" is laughable.

Taxi companies have had more than just "an opportunity to improve." They have enjoyed a de facto state-sponsored monopoly for decades. The fact that they provide horrid service is solely on them.

rachelgal
rachelgal

@ScottsMerkin @rachelgal There are regulations that were beneficial at the time, there are regulations that in theory are in favor of the users. You don't have to go too far to see the disastrous results of one sided deregulation. I haven't say fuck uber and let's not deregulate, but in your mind taxi drivers don't deserve an opportunity to improve and fairly compete. Times change and competition makes you competent. Taxi Companies don't like the competition with uber, but I say let's them fairly compete. If taxi companies are doomed to extinction, after that, so be it, but then maybe you'll end up footing the bill for the uber none-eligible, and as you would say 'fuck' them too.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin @rachelgal Right, before, you might end up with a clean, honest, safe cab, or you might end up with a dirty cheating deathtrap.

Thanks the wonders of REGULATION, all of the cabs are dirty cheating deathtraps.

dc005
dc005

@Montemalone @marvin reminds me of the bumper sticker pointing out George Wallace's serious advantage in life:

WHY WALK??? WHEN YOU CAN ROLL!

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@marvin I thought DART provided handi-rides as part of their service. It has to be scheduled in advance, but I think the fare is the same as a bus, which beats a cab or car service. They use wheelchair accessible vehicles, and point to point service. Is that no longer offered?

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