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Houston City Council Makes Changes To ‘Uber’ Ordinance

The council over a year ago passed an ordinance to regulate Uber and other ride-share companies.

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The vehicles for hire ordinance established rules to protect passengers and ensure fair competition.

For a year afterward, a task force consisting of taxi and ride-share company representatives and from the disabilities community worked to improve the law.

Mayor Annise Parker said the biggest change concerns wheelchair accessibility.

“You can have a certain percentage of the vehicles in your fleet that are wheelchair-accessible,” she said, “or you can choose to meet a service standard where you have to respond to someone who calls in and says, I need a wheelchair-accessible vehicle within a certain amount of time.”

Another change loosens the requirement that cars used by ride-share drivers not be older than seven years.

“And what this does is simply allows the ARA (Administration and Regulatory Affairs) department director to use his or her discretion to require the vehicle to go to a third-party rigorous inspection and extend the life and use of that vehicle,” said Council member C.O. Bradford, who offered that amendment.

Another amendment provides for more taxi permits to give opportunities for smaller companies.

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