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San Antonio City Council passes vehicles for hire revision

Unlike Dallas, it’s the cab companies that are happy about it.

Lyft

After nearly three hours of debate Thursday, the San Antonio City Council voted 7-2 to approve new rules for ride-share companies Uber and Lyft that provide service in the city.

Only council members Ron Nirenberg and Rey Saldana opposed the motion. Councilman Roberto Trevino, who assumed the District 1 seat earlier Thursday, abstained.

The new regulations, which include a 10-fingerprint background check and third-party inspections for ride-share vehicles, provide a pathway for the services to operate legally in the city but Uber has said the new regulations could close down the services.

An earlier motion by Councilman Nirenberg to delay a vote on the proposed new rules failed on a 7-3 vote.

See here and here for the background. I have to say, I’m a little surprised that Council didn’t agree to delay the vote till the two newest members, plus the one absent member, were all in place and ready to be heard. I know this has gone on for a long time and it’s nice to finish a piece of business, but all things considered another month wouldn’t have hurt.

What happens next is not clear yet.

Uber

Uber and Lyft representatives said they will begin reviewing the regulations and amendments to see if they will continue to operate in San Antonio. In six months, Council will review the ordinance’s performance.

“We need to actually digest the amendments, this is the first we’re hearing of them,” said Uber Dallas General Manager Leandre Johns. “We’ll have to decide how to go forward from there.”

Both TNCs have been operating in San Antonio for about nine months, despite receiving cease and desist letters from Police Chief William McManus, who sought unsuccessfully to shut down the rideshare services while an updated vehicle-for-hire ordinance was studied and implemented. McManus argued successfully to impose tougher regulations than those recommended by the City’s task force.

I suppose this means that six months from now San Antonio could completely redo it. I don’t know how likely that is, but it’s at least theoretically possible. You can see a copy of the Dallas ordinance at that link above as well. Going forward, Uber is operating in Fort Worth and El Paso; Lyft is in Fort Worth as well, where the Dallas ordinance may be the model for official approval. The Legislature may address the issue of insurance for TNCs as well. Most of the high profile stuff appears to be behind us, but there are still chapters to be written.

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