Uber Opposes Proposed Ride-share Regulations

City Council will vote on proposed transportation-network company regulations on December 11. - ALEXA GARCIA-DITTA
Alexa Garcia-Ditta
City Council will vote on proposed transportation-network company regulations on December 11.

Multiple City Council members and the Chief of Police said Wednesday that they didn't think ride-share companies would follow proposed transportation-network company regulations because Uber and Lyft are operating in San Antonio despite a cease-and-desist order.

"Because the TNCs have not done what we've asked them to do in the past, and because they've not done what they've been asked to do, I don't know why we would trust that they would do anything we asked them to do in the future," police chief William McManus said in response to a question about operating permits from District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran.

Despite the criticism, City Council will vote on the proposed regulations December 11.

Uber General Manager Leandre Johns said the ride-share company opposes the proposed regulations.

"The city has undermined the very task force they commissioned by amending behind closed doors the recommendations that didn't align with their agenda," Johns said in a statement. "Ultimately, this process is unfair to the citizens of San Antonio that have urged city council to embrace transportation options like Uber."

Johns urged City Council members to vote no to the proposal, saying it "hampers innovation, jobs, and transportation choices for the people of Alamo City."

District 2 Counclman Keith Toney felt compelled to bring up Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who last March described his "skyrocketing desirability" to GQ reporter Mickey Rapkin by saying "Yeah, we call that Boob-er."

"One of the TNC CEOs made a crass statement about the name of his company and the female anatomy and it was in the newspaper," Toney said, going on to allege that ride-share companies would red-line entire parts of San Antonio. "This is at best, a very unleveled playing field ... taxi companies, who have born the brunt of shuttling citizens around for years are on the losing end. We need much more analyses before we allow these folks, who have decided that they have not abided by our police department and city rules to operate with impunity."

McManus, in his opening statement before giving a presentation to the City Council, also mentioned leveling the playing field, which doesn't really seem like that is the police department's role.

"Our goal here was not to regulate the industry anymore than it already is. It was to develop as even a playing field as we could for both industries. And lastly, it was to make sure public safety was ensured," McManus said, at the beginning of the work session.

Since when does leveling a playing field for competing business' trump the police department's role in public safety? 

Later in the meeting, McManus did say the police department had no interest in protecting cab companies, but rather, protecting the public with proper rules and regulations.

"And nobody is imposing or trying to impose regulations because we are mad at TNCs," McManus said, nearly in the same breath as the bit about not protecting the cab companies. "Our purpose is to try to get them operating here, but to get them operating legally with a level playing field."

Johns said the meeting was full of countless appalling accusations.

"City officials are entitled to their own opinion but certainly not their own facts. For months, we have worked in good faith with city officials to implement smart regulations that ensure riders have access to a safe, reliable ride," Johns said.

We've reached out to Lyft to find out whether they have similar feelings.

You can read the latest proposed regulations here:

Ch 33 TNC (1) by MarkAReagan

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