City Of Houston, Uber Face Off Over Regulations In Austin

Lawmakers in Austin are currently considering legislation to regulate ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft in Texas. The city of Houston is worried it would pre-empt local regulations.


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Uber lobbyist Sally Kay testifing at a hearing before the Texas House Transportation Committee.
Screengrab from committee video site.


Testifying at a hearing before the House Transportation Committee Thursday, Uber lobbyist Sally Kay told lawmakers strict municipal regulations threaten the success of companies like Uber.

“Texas currently has a patchwork of regulations that are inconsistent, unpredictable and unnecessarily burdensome on TNC (transportation network companies) driver partners, who want a flexible and steady source of income and riders who want an affordable transportation option,” Kay said.

Uber supports House Bill 2440, which would overrule any regulations imposed by cities.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker thinks that’s a problem.

Speaking on Houston Matters, she said state law should just set a minimum standard, as has been the norm.

“At least the full fingerprint background check,” Parker said. “We consider that to be non-negotiable, and that you have to have your car inspected. I mean, Uber wants to say, well, we look at the cars and we’re fine. No, I want to know the quality of that car that someone is getting in.”

Public safety especially has become an issue since the recent arrest of a Houston Uber driver for allegedly raping a passenger.

Legislators can still make changes to the bill before committee members vote on it.

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is the News 88.7 business reporter and also covers criminal justice, guns and shootings.Florian's stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of...

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