Reporting Brian New
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – More than 15,000 supporters signed a petition against proposed “anti-Uber” changes to Dallas’ transportation code.
CBS 11 News was first on the story back in January and Tuesday night learned more about the growing battle.
The proposed changes come after months of battle between the City of Dallas and Uber.
Uber operates a popular phone app that connects available private drivers with riders.
The company, which moved into Dallas nearly a year ago, says it’s a technology company – not a transportation service and, therefore; should not be subject to the city’s transportation codes.
Lincoln Stephens is one of thousands of people in Dallas who use Uber daily.
He takes a private car service every day from his home in North Dallas to his office downtown – using Uber to schedule his ride.
“It works well because it’s so quick in terms of when you schedule a car to come and how quickly it comes,” he said.
Uber said since January the number of users in Dallas is up 500%.
However while the phone app has exploded with popularly, the City of Dallas says Uber remains in violation of the city’s transportation codes.
The city sent Uber a letter in November telling the company is cease providing taxicab service in the city until it has obtained the appropriate operating authority and is in full compliance with the city’s regulations.
In May, at the city’s request, undercover Dallas police officers used Uber to schedule more than thirty rides with private drivers.
At the end of each trip, the driver was issued a citation.
Dallas Councilman Philip Kingston said the sting operation was a “misuse of those officers’ time.”
“Why did we detail four highly trained officers for class c misdemeanors?,” he questioned.
Kingston said he’s also troubled by newly proposed changes to city’s transportation code that he says the city’s manager’s office tried to slip by with no public debate.
“That raised all sorts of red flags,” he said. “It needs to be debated in the light of day.”
Uber’s Dallas general manager said the proposed changes also caught him off-guard calling the move “utterly wrong”.
Leandre Johns said the regulations would hamper his company’s ability to provide its service.
The city manager’s office said the proposed ordinance is not intended to drive Uber out of town, rather it’s intended to protect the consumers.
Local taxi companies say Uber needs to play by the same rules as everyone else.
Uber contends, as a technology company, it’s not subject to the same regulations.
The proposed changes were pulled from the consent agenda. City council is scheduled to discuss the issue Wednesday.
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