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Cab Companies Lobby Hard Against Competitors Uber and Lyft

Houston councilmembers debate city rules to allow app-based services to operate.



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Uber and Lyft are already operating in Houston, although they’re technically doing so illegally. Houston Councilmembers were supposed to vote on a new set of rules to govern vehicles for hire, but delayed the vote for a week as more questions about insurance coverage, background checks and access for the disabled were brought up by lobbyists for the taxi industry.

“They have to meet the same guidelines as the current cab companies. They have to play by the same rules,” Councilmember Michael Kubosh said.

As the proposed ordinance stands right now, Uber and Lyft would not be required to meet the same standards as taxis for providing access to passengers in wheelchairs. Councilmember Robert Gallegos says the new companies that want to operate here must address that.

“Speaking for myself, I have a brother who is physically disabled in a wheelchair and I’m concerned that if he is in need of transportation will he be able to find it with these new vendors,” Gallegos said. “I’m not satisfied with what has been presented so far, and I think we really need to make sure we’ve got this covered correctly in regard to people with disabilities.”

Although Uber and Lyft would not be required to provide wheelchair access, they would have other restrictions placed on them. The ordinance prohibits them from queuing up at cab stands or operating at Houston’s  airports.

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Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

Executive Director of Content Operations

As Executive Director of Content Operations, Laurie Johnson-Ramirez leads the strategic vision and initiatives for News, Digital, Radio Operations and Talk Shows on all of Houston Public Media’s platforms. She brings 20 years of experience in journalism and content development to the role. Her focus is on reaching new audiences,...

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