Starting in the spring of 2015, cabs, limos and app-based services like Uber will operate on a reasonably level playing field.
That's the end result of months of wrangling that culminated with three and a half hours of debate before the Dallas City Council voted 13-2 to approve a transportation-for-hire ordinance that will allow the app-based services to operate in Dallas with the city's OK. Only Dwaine Caraway and Carolyn Davis voted no.
All of the services' drivers will be required to carry commercial insurance when carrying paying passengers. All drivers will have to get a city permit and pass a background check. All vehicles being driven for the services will have to pass a city inspection.
All of the groups affected by the ordinance -- except for one -- urged its passing. They may not have been happy with all of its provisions -- the driver licensing is particularly onerous for UberX and Lyft drivers that only drive part-time -- but recognized the importance of creating a way for all the players to conduct business in Dallas under a consistent standard.
That lone dissenting voice among the transportation companies was, of course, Yellow Cab. Its president, Jack Bewley, showed up again to complain that the insurance requirements wouldn't been in effect for Lyft and Uber drivers when they were making personal use of their cars and say that the background checks required weren't good enough.
Council member Sandy Greyson, who led the team that drafted the ordinance, suggested that Yellow Cab was unhappy with it because it would hurt its business model. Berhane Alemayoh, at Wednesday's council meeting representing limo drivers, compared taking advice about the ordinance from Yellow Cab to taking advice about democracy from Fidel Castro.
Until the effective date for the new ordinance, April 30, transportation-for-hire in the city will operate as it does now, with Uber and Lyft existing in the quasi-legal ether.