Transportation

Uber-Lyft Vote Delayed

Houston City Council postponed a vote on the controversial Uber and Lyft ride sharing service for seven weeks.

Houston city council spent hours discussing Uber and Lyft, the smart phone based applications that work like a taxi service and have already started limited operations. Council voted to take up the issue at the end of next month because CMs like Mike Laster think more discussion is needed:

“This is not simply an ordinance that’s gonna mess with taxis or limousines or jitneys, said Laster, or at companies or at companies that act like computer companies or whatever they are, we’re talking about potentially re-organizing a major component of our transportation    system in this city.”

Laster says he supports the delay to give all sides an opportunity to work on an agreement that is best for consumers and the transportation industry:

“The industry is changing. We need to be responsive to that change, said Laster. It is true that those companies that have provided that major transportation service in this city for so long, hire and employ thousands of people. This has significant financial impact on the citizens of Houston.”

After council approved the delay, there were some who were concerned
about the realiability of Lyft and Uber drivers. Roman Martinez is president of the Greater Houston Transportation Company:

“There’s some very very difficult, and very dangerous issues that have to be taken care of, said Martinez. We look forward to making sure that one, they have proper insurance, secondly, that they have to follow the rules just like all of our drivers here in Houston have had to follow the rules for years and years, and that they take care of the disabled. We pick up everybody in the city of Houston. We don’t discriminate.”

Mayor Annise Parker says she’s confident the vote delay will ultimately lead to allowing shared ride services to operate in Houston:

“There’s not a solution out there that makes everybody happy, said Parker. And councilmembers are looking desperately for a solution, that both Uber and Lyft, as new entries into the market, and Yellow Cab can sign off on. But I would point out that there’s limousine companies, there are other cab companies in the city, and there is not a solution that will make everyone happy.”

A federal judge is set to hear the request for an injunction filed by cab companies, against Lyft and Uber on July 15.

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