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."
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"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."