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Chauffeur Service Uber Sparks Uproar From Dallas Cabbies

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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - The arrival of the technology company Uber to Dallas has come with fanfare from its loyal customers and complaints from local taxi cab companies.

Uber, a San Francisco-based company, connects local licensed limousine drivers to customers by way of a mobile app.

Colin Alsheimer, a social media specialist at Weber Shandwick in downtown Dallas, downloaded the app a few months ago and said he found the service to be more efficient than a traditional taxi service.

The app allows customers on their mobile devices to locate the nearest driver, receive fare rates, and track the driver’s progress to the pick-up location.

Alsheimer said it’s simple to use.

“If you are used to checking in on Four Square or using Facebook or Yelp or apps like that, it’s very similar,” he said.

However, Saied Rafie, the owner of the Cowboy Cab Company, said he believes Uber is operating an illegal business.

Like all taxi cab companies in the city, Cowboy Cab Company is heavily regulated by the City of Dallas.

Rafie said since he believes Uber is operating an ”on-demand” car service, it should have to abide by the same city regulations as all other taxi companies.

Uber does have a taxi operating authority permit from the City of Dallas. The company said it doesn’t need one because it does not consider itself a car service company.

“What we are is a technology company,” said Uber Dallas manager Leandre Johns. “We do not own cars. We don’t employ drivers. We simply allow that connectivity from the rider to the driver.” The company compares itself
to the likes of Orbitz.

The City of Dallas sent Uber a letter in November stating: “Please confirm that Uber will cease providing taxicab service or limousine service in the City until it has obtained appropriate operating authority and is in full compliance
with applicable regulations.

Uber said that’s not a problem because it does not provide those services.

Uber has faced legal challenges in other cities where it operates.

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