ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Fans headed to games at stadiums in Arlington in 2020 should be ready for a walk.
The city plans to no longer allow companies to operate the pedal-powered carriages and electric carts that shuttle fans from the far reaches of area parking lots to stadium gates.READ MORE: 50K Veterans Impacted By 2-Week Closure Of Fort Worth VA Clinic Due To Burst Pipe Damage
The decision, announced by Mayor Jeff Williams in a meeting December 17, came after a city transportation manager cited “unflattering behavior” by operators and the staff time necessary to administer the program.
The decision to sunset the program was made without a vote by the city council and with reportedly no notice to business owners.
Three pedicab operators told CBS11 Thursday they had already informed their drivers they would be out of a job in 2020.
Operators said they had feared a shutdown might be coming, as their inquiries about when the annual permit renewal process would begin, went unanswered.
Despite Assistant City Manager Keith Brooks telling the City Council last week he held monthly meeting with operators to keep them informed on the program, company owner Billy Anger said no owners were aware of the meeting discussing the programs future.
“Good people have lost their jobs,” he said. “They’ve been put out of their livelihood. But also the customers that utilize the business each and every year that enhances the enjoyment of going to the game. They’ve also lost that.”READ MORE: FEMA COVID-19 Vaccine Site Opens At Globe Life Field In Arlington
Anger estimated his drivers worked about 100 events during the year, logging as many as 10,000 rides. Most of those he said, were young families with children who didn’t want to make the long trek from parking lots.
In a short presentation to council members, Brooks cited safety issues that were raised during the city’s last attempt to shut the cabs down in 2016.
He also brought up complaints made to council members, that were not coming from riders but from operators themselves.
“It reminds me of my kids, in the back seat…’she touched me,’ said Council Member Robert Shepard. “It’s been that way. They’ve not been able to operate at the level of maturity that I think is conducive with the operations of what we expect in the entertainment district.”
Anger and another owner, Michael Kahlig, said most of the problems referenced were attributable to a single operator, who had his permit revoked in 2019.
“It’s a total misrepresentation of what happens out here,” Anger said.
He and other owners are hopeful there is still a chance to reverse the decision.MORE NEWS: Power Outages, Burst Pipes... Potholes Now A Concern After Historic Texas Cold Snap
The Arlington City Council is still scheduled to take an official vote on revising the ordinance that allows the program, on January 14.