Dallas' Unfair Fight to Crush Uber

City Hall does the taxi industry's dirty work to kill competition.

Kingston says he doesn't buy city staff's public safety rationale. "That's baloney. That's garbage," he said. "If there's a concern out there, nobody's expressed it."

Brown admitted they'd found no direct threat to public safety posed by the Uber drivers they cited. "In all of the cases where we stopped the cars, they were licensed limo drivers," he says. "That was something revealed through our investigation."

Brown says that while violations of the city ordinance may remain, "the only reason I'd agree to use police resources was for clearly stated public safety reasons."

The city attorney, as Kingston tells it, wasn't confident it could prosecute Uber or its drivers for operating illegally. "When [the police] went to give the citations, they wrote to the city attorney's office. The city attorney felt he would be unable to enforce the citations because the underlying ordinance hadn't been violated."

Indeed, this was borne out when the city brought Uber itself to municipal court earlier this month for illegally advertising a limo service. Uber prevailed. "They tried to twist the language and say if you're going to advertise a limo service, you have to have operating authority, and that's not in the statute at all," local Uber manager Leandre Johns says. "It was unanimously found by the jury to not be the case, and we were found not guilty."

Uber, he adds, uses only drivers who have the necessary city operating authority.

None of this means there aren't a few niggling concerns about Uber. For example, when you install its app on your phone, you indemnify the company from any liability. In the fine print, it instructs users to direct any and all complaints to the car service, not Uber. And if you feel as though you've been wronged somehow and there's no other recourse but litigation, you may have to file your complaint in a court in Amsterdam, where the company is registered.

But if any of this is troubling Dallas devotees to the app, they aren't saying so. When news broke that the Uber ordinance was on the consent agenda, Kingston's office "received more emails and other contacts from constituents on this issue since I've been here, and more than my secretary can remember in her 17 years here," he said.

A pro-Uber petition circulating the Internet received one signature per second for the first three hours it was live, according to an Uber spokeswoman.

Kingston worries that the proposed change to the limo code bears all the hallmarks of what's known as "regulatory capture" — the taxi industry can't compete, so it gets the government to make sure it doesn't have to. Industry chieftains like Yellow Cab's Jack Bewley contend it's all about enforcing the rules uniformly. And Uber's biggest opponent, Matthew Daus of the International Association of Transportation Regulators, says the company price gouges at times of peak demand, while he simultaneously claims Uber has an unfair advantage over taxis. He has a point. Unless you're loaded, don't summon Uber on New Year's Eve. The pricing reflects supply and demand. But if its pricing is outrageous, won't the market chasten Uber? Is its advantage still unfair?

Say you wave down a cab on the street, and the driver is rude and the service is terrible. If you've ever taken a cab in this or any city, you know that scenario isn't outlandish. Most rides are one-off affairs, and the cabby is on to the next fare, hustling to cover his dispatch fees and the lease he may be paying a major franchise like Yellow Cab on his taxi. Are you going to take the time to complain and hold the driver accountable, or will you simply move on with your life?

And is that even of the same species as Uber, whom you do business with again and again, each time rating the driver's performance on your smartphone? In that way, both Uber and its drivers are sensitive to the demands of the market in a way the taxi industry never has been.

When the ordinance change that would have killed Uber in Dallas came before the City Council last month, the market spoke. More than 100 speakers signed up to address the council. They didn't get the chance. Mayor Mike Rawlings took the council into executive session. When they returned, the ordinance was kicked to the transportation committee. Meanwhile, he vowed to lead an investigation into how the code change ended up on the consent agenda. "Your input is extremely important to us," he told the crowd that had turned out to speak on behalf of Uber. "We will get to the bottom of this. We will do the right things by the city of Dallas to make sure we live in a great city and it's an easy place to get around and a safe place to get around."

Then, he asked them all to please exit council chambers quietly.

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37 comments
chuythegr3at
chuythegr3at

I like the chić feel of uber.

If taxies in Dallas were black, dripped in leather, and had personable drivers in a standard suit/tux uniform, I would totally use a taxi like that.

However the taxies in Dallas are old, disgusting and you have to wait forever.

Uber gives me a driver at my fingertips.

That's how the world is going, get over it.

The taxi cab drivers in Dallas also need to check their attitudes.

Customer service is key, and uber has that.

My uber drivers have always been nice, personable and knowledgeable about the cities I've used uber in.

I say Dallas gets rid or public taxies and just higher uber.

Plain and simple.

amhs879
amhs879

City of Dallas is not approving the new limo licenses because of Uber. They think that everyone starting the new limo business, will be working for Uber. They are scared to tell this to the public openly because of their corruptions within.

DallasCabbie
DallasCabbie

As a cab driver in Dallas since 1979 it just boils down to definitions.  A Taxi service in the city of Dallas can pick up from cab stands, hails from the street, and on demand [asap] calls for service.  A Town Car or Limo service has historically been one where a reservation is made 30-60 minutes in advance.  I have no objection to Uber as it simply is an easier way for independent Town Car operators to get more business.  A co-op dispatch as it were.  But I also feel they should have the requirement of beeing booked 30-60 minutes in advance.  How many business people do not know in advance they need a ride??

Also, the pre-booking requirement would make illegal the practice of Dallas hotel employees of lining their pockets from people coming down, asking for a taxi, and the doorman guiding the passengers to their friendly neighborhood Town Car out front and getting a kickback.

JRjr
JRjr

"Bewley, in an emailed statement, says he simply wants "a level playing field" where the law is "equally applied to all participants." "

Translation:  Bewley wants the taxpayer funded police and courts to offset his technological and public relations issues.   

 Where is the "free market" in that?

If the cab companies used some of their assets to upgrade to a Uber-type technology and to put their drivers through customer service training, they would not need the police or the justice system to intervene.


johnsmith
johnsmith

If it wasn't a Dot certified police officer he had No right to stop you no jurisdiction  But to help with some  understanding of l laws related to drivers operators and traffic here is some case law in these youtube links that back it all up help you under stand    copy past in search bar    .http://youtu.be/jILkxbK_lzk .  and  this link ,,,,,http://youtu.be/_Ytf7wGA4ns,,, and if that don't beat them into the dirt then getting a 503c certifying you as a non profit aka a church will and then they have no authority over you non profit ! aka a Jessie Jackson move

kimsearley
kimsearley

I use Uber all the time when I travel to LA...Guess what?  They actually pick you up and it doesn't take 30 - 45 for them to arrive!

kerptinpicard
kerptinpicard

Uber is way better than a cab. If you want to save $15 off your first ride, use code 521o9.

Sudilos
Sudilos

I do not authorize the city of Dallas to spend police budget on enforcing Yellow Cabs policy especially if no laws are being broken.

tim_lebsack
tim_lebsack

re: "of any regulation beneficial to taxis"

What regulations are beneficial to taxis??

 

RhetoricalQuestion
RhetoricalQuestion

Ah, corrupt liberal city policies strike again.

Uber sounds fantastic, it is a real 'power to the people' application. 

Admonkey
Admonkey

If the COD & Yellow Cab really want to take Uber on, it's going to become courtroom-expensive as hell for both Yellow Cab owner Jack Bewley and the City of Dallas taxpayers: 

Taxi & limo service is a $10bn/yr industry in the U.S., but Uber has equity funding of $307MM— an equity funding number that equates to a little over 3% of the entire domestic industry.

I'm guessing Uber can, and will, eventually out-lawyer both the city and Bewley (fairly easily in fact), particularly over an antitrust issue that seems like a real "duh" moment to anyone who reads two paragraphs on it.

And the Council Members who get on the wrong side are going to have to explain exactly why they voted the way they did— and put the city finances farther into the lawsuit hole— just because Yellow Cab once spread some small-time cash around the old general election campaign and lobbying fund.

pak152
pak152

so when will the po-po do a sting operation on Yellow Cab et al making suring they are following all the regulations?

mdd0124
mdd0124

On Sunday, after the pride parade (more like 11:30 PM), I was tired, a little drunk, and ready to go home. I walked up to a cab outside S4, and asked if he'd take me home (Knox-Henderson area). He flat-out refused, and told me he was waiting for a bigger fare, and to ask another cab. 

My phone had 1% battery, but I was able to pull up Uber, a cab came in less than 3 minutes, and I was home in less than 10.

That is why #DallasNeedsUber.

mrarmyant
mrarmyant

Yellow Cab just released an iPhone app for Dallas.  I wonder if they would also face the same 30 minute wait, however it frequently takes 30 minutes to get a cab and I live in Oaklawn...

cjbwalton
cjbwalton

What is the status of the search for a new City Manager? Interim City Manager Gonzales is NOT the right person for the job.

BettyC1
BettyC1

Some new Council members are actually reading their agendas.Good for them.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

I have experienced too many bad taxi experiences. To name a mere 3 of many: trying to refuse a DFW pickup for interteminal transfer; driving under the influence (the cab crashed into a parked car when it arrived at my destination--the driver asked me to be a witness to his sobriety, I suggested I would not be a helpful witness--he was drinking, but used many anyway--I said he appeared intoxicated and smelled like whiskey); and crashed my car when doing a U turn across four lanes in from of the Fairmount--trying to catch a fair. And forget trying to schedule a cab to get to the airport on time.

Never a problem with Uber.

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

Once we have 2 or more folks in our car and travel from M streets to Uptown or Downtown - Uber is cheaper, and nicer. Its a no brainer. There is nothing like getting in a cab and before its left the curb the driver has hit fee after fee after extra fee, none of which makes sense.

Also I wish the COD would stop talking about how they care about our safety - they don't and plus we can all read the waiver we sign when we join.

NightSand
NightSand

Instead of the Cabs fighting and giving money to the criminals on City Council, why not create their own app with the same function, but make the fares cheaper?   The reason Uber works is because they give you an exact time they will arrive, they actually do arrive, they take credit cards without a fight and generally know where they are in the city... not to mention their cars are all clean and don't smell bad.   

  I use Cowboy Cab a lot and have had pretty pleasant experiences with them, but Uber tops them, though it is more expensive.  

hentai.jeff
hentai.jeff

@RhetoricalQuestion if you want to assign the term liberal to a side in this debate, it's actually on uber, need only look at their funding for that one.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@pak152 All one has to do is stand on a corner in the CBD and you could witness all kinds of unsafe for the public actions by any number of cabs

pak152
pak152

@mdd0124 did you get the cab number and report his refusal?


jocktop
jocktop

@mdd0124 isn't it illegal for them to refuse a fair? My drunken friend yelled his way into a cab that tried to pull this after a ranger's game, just because we wanted to go to some arlington bars nearby, not drive all the way to dallas.

lakewoodhobo
lakewoodhobo

@whocareswhatithink Plus you can split fares with Uber. Try getting a cab driver to take one credit card, and imagine the look on his face if you asked him to take two of them!

Dub919
Dub919

@ScottsMerkin @pak152 Yep.  I walk around downtown often...and the only time I've ever come close to being hit by a car was by a Yellow cab who was speeding through a red light.

Or, you could just sit at the Love Field entrance portion of Cedar Springs.  The road becomes a 30mph zone about halfway through with a radar sign indicating your speed.  I got passed by Yellow and Executive at that spot today...both were going at least 62 mph (which is what the sign indicated).

pak152
pak152

@ScottsMerkin @pak152 but if i or you witness them our account is apocryphal, but if the po-po does it we have a record that can be used.

kimsearley
kimsearley

@jocktop @mdd0124  Cabs refuse fares all the time...I live near DFW Airport and when I come in at an "off" hour, they refuse to take me home.  Finally, I just hired a car service. It's not worth the stress to deal with them!

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@lakewoodhobo OMG, We had a cabbie that was actually going to take a credit card, then when he saw 2, mysteriously the machine suddenly didnt work lol

brantley.hargrove1
brantley.hargrove1

@ScottsMerkin @tim_lebsack Things like freezing the number of operating licenses issued, followed by allowing fleet increases so the majors can increase their hold on the market. Things like that.

 
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