Thursday, May 21, 2015

Uber Hold-em-off

The hired guns in Texas may have staved off the competition for the taxi industry. At least for this legislative session, reports Insurance Journal;
Uber Technologies Inc.’s attempt to replace a patchwork of local rules in Texas with a state law regulating its car-booking business is headed for defeat because lawmakers have yet to act on a key measure with only days remaining in the legislative session.
....Uber has been unable to garner enough support to bring the measure to the House of Representatives floor even after arming itself with almost 30 registered lobbyists and enlisting the the Texas Association of Business, an influential group that often sways policy decisions.
Even with this deft move by Uber spokesman Natalia Montalvo;
“With Texas leading the nation in drunk-driving deaths, it’s a shame state lawmakers ran out of time before passing similar legislation that would have saved lives by addressing this pressing public safety need.”
The legislative session ends on June 1, and it looks like, Opposition from the taxi industry and the four largest Texas cities — Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Austin — was insurmountable for Uber and its fellow San Francisco-based startup, Lyft Inc.

Cue the usual suspects; 
In April, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings sent a letter to House Speaker Joe Straus, a Republican from San Antonio, urging him to oppose the bill, which he said would “erode” the city’s carefully crafted rules. The taxi lobby also mobilized, telling lawmakers that the proposed rules would create an unlevel playing field while discriminating against poor and minority passengers who lack a credit card or smartphone.
“They’re picking and choosing to serve parts of the community where they’re going to get the most lucrative passengers,” said Edward Kargbo, president of Greater Austin Transportation Co. Advocates for the disabled also came out against the ridesharing legislation, saying the company excludes such passengers by not offering wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
Wait til next year. 

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