Potential Taxi War Could Get Serious After Ruling

taxiwar.jpg
Ride share services like Uber are working against city ordinance, but that could change soon.
What's going on in Houston's livery scene (and in several major cities across the country -- no, the world) has the makings for a cable television reality show. Let's call it Houston Taxi Wars, wherein the traditional style of transporting people around a city for a cash or credit card fee is challenged to its core by a couple of young start-ups whose customers use smartphones to pay for and hail rides.

It's not an original concept, but one that's freshly playing out here in the Bayou City. And things are moving along faster than you can say "pink moustache grille."
After a full-court press at last week's city council meeting that included testimony from Lyft executive Jim Black as well as a half dozen or so young leaders from the city's business community, it looks as if mobile app ride share services Uber and Lyft are moving ever closer toward an official green light.


At a hearing yesterday, a federal judge stopped short of issuing a temporary restraining order against the cab companies, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Attorney Marty Hill, who represents Yellow Cab, asked Gilmore to grant an order that would require current city ordinance be followed. Houston's existing ordinance does not allow the kind of ride-sharing services offered by Lyft and Uber for a fee. Both companies were offering their services here for free until last week, when Uber said it would charge riders. City officials said they would continue to ticket the company's drivers if they took money for the service.

Who wants to see cab and limo companies get hurt in this? No one, I suspect. But just like how Silicon Valley and 21st century technology have taken a little out of our mass media's bottom line, so be it with traditional forms of transportation. It's a jungle out there.

This morning, a city council committee is expected to convene to discuss possible plans to amend the city ordinance to allow the quick pickups and drop-offs that make the Uber and Lyft business model work.

The limo and taxi supporters threatened to come out in full in an email sent to media yesterday by Joe L. Jordan, the editor of the Limoinsider Report:

LET CITY COUNCIL KNOW THAT WE DON'T WANT THE UBER SCUMBAGS AND THEIR WHOLE BAG OF ILLEGAL TRICKS AND PHONEY INSURANCE HERE.

Yep, it's bound to be a war for these city streets.

My Voice Nation Help
9 comments
Wayward Shepherd
Wayward Shepherd

As long as it is a safer alternative, why not have some friendly competition? Houston Yellow Cab and Liberty Cab and Fiesta Cab will survive.

Rusty Lovell
Rusty Lovell

The Houston taxi system blows anyways. Fuck em

Nicky Cruz
Nicky Cruz

Maybe they should learn to drive first.

Josh Webster
Josh Webster

I think the cab companies will find that there is little love for them amongst the public. They have overcharged for poor service for too long. It is time for a new system.

rich5371
rich5371

I posted this on an article at the Chron, I am cutting and pasting so I don't have to type it all over:


I live downtown at Main and Walker. I have called for a cab (or had the concierge call) and waited more than 30 minutes past the estimated 10 minutes I was told it would take to be picked up. Regardless of the details provided, I would always be told by the driver when they were exceptionally late some excuse, including they couldn't find me. It's Commerce Towers for goodness sake, and I like to be picked up in the passenger pick up and drop off point on the left side of Walker in between Main and Travis. Detailed instructions would be provided over the phone, but the driver (or dispatcher) either didn't comprehend them, didn't get them, or was incompetent. This is downtown and you would think any of the cab companies could understand these directions. You would be wrong. I've now used both Uber and Lyft (prefer Uber) and they picked me up in the exact spot twice - both in less than 15 minutes (Uber in 8 but that was luck of where their driver was I suspect). I took the light rail to the Continental Club a few years ago, stayed after the light rail stopped running, and then called a cab. I waited over an hour in the exact spot (Winbern and Travis) I told the dispatcher I would be. Got a call from the cabbie who had been waiting at Main and Winbern and took the ride. When I was dropped at home had to run up to my place for more cash (cabbie waited in parking garage vestibule where valet staged) to pay for 45 minutes of the cab driver waiting for me at the wrong place. I was infuriated. I am sick of the lack of taxi service we have and both Uber and Lyft have been great. I don't want to drink and drive, I'm glad for now I have this option and it's less expensive and so much more responsive.

texmex01
texmex01 topcommenter

LET CITY COUNCIL KNOW THAT WE DON'T WANT THE UBER SCUMBAGS AND THEIR WHOLE BAG OF ILLEGAL TRICKS AND PHONEY INSURANCE HERE."


As opposed to all of the Nigerians in the Cab business?

PDiddie
PDiddie

Silicone Valley?  Is that somewhere near the Texas Medical Center?

Now Trending

Houston Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...