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Dallas Interim City Manager Admits “Mistake” Over Car-For-Hire Service

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Dallas’s Interim City Manager seems to be shifting his approach over a local luxury car-for-hire service in reverse.

A.C. Gonzalez sent a memo to Mayor Mike Rawlings and members of the Dallas City Council on Monday saying he made a mistake in the way he handled the Uber matter.

“I regret the approach I took as I tried to address the situation expeditiously,” wrote Gonzalez.

An item to discuss Uber was placed on an August agenda for the Dallas City Council, but some Council members say they didn’t know enough about it to take any action.

Gonzalez wrote in his memo, “Any future proposed changes to our Code enforcement regulations will be brought to the appropriate Council committee.  If there is some extraordinary need for more immediate action, all members of the Council will be briefed by memo and in person.”

The Uber app, which can be downloaded to any smartphone, is designed to match chauffeured cars with riders who want a luxury taxi-type service at the last minute.

Uber calls itself a technology company and is operating in several major U.S. cities.  However, its Dallas operation has run into roadblocks as critics have labeled it a car service.  Some have questioned why Uber is not subject to the same laws as cab drivers.  City council will ultimately decide if drivers who use Uber’s service must operate under the same guidelines set for taxi drivers.

The city of Dallas has challenged the company about how it operates, and in some cases, undercover Dallas police officers have used the service and issued Class C misdemeanor citations to drivers at the end of the ride.

City Council is expected to get a full report about Uber at it’s October 23 meeting.

In his memo, Gonzalez wrote, “The City Of Dallas welcomes innovation and new business.  There are numerous approaches to provide transportation alternatives for citizens being developed using latest technologies.  There remain the issues of public safety, accessibility of these services to all areas of the City, quality of the services, etc. which also need to be addressed.”

Supporters say the service is prompt, convenient and the cars are clean.  In August, an Uber spokesperson said its number of Dallas users had increased by 500% since the beginning of the year.

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