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Deja vu all over again in San Antonio

Are you ready for some more municipal wrangling over Uber and Lyft? Of course you are.


A post-election push to craft city policies to allow ride-hailing firms Uber and Lyft to operate in San Antonio has also prompted the taxi industry lobby to strengthen its efforts to shoot down whatever is ultimately proposed.

Since Mayor Ivy Taylor’s announcement last week that she’s directed City Manager Sheryl Sculley to craft a pilot program for firms such as Uber and Lyft, some council members say they’ve seen an uptick in lobbying from the taxi industry.

Others say taxi lobbyists never stopped — even after Uber and Lyft shuttered operations here when the council adopted regulations that they said made it too difficult to do business here.



Uber officials insist their background checks are superior — and not a barrier to bringing new drivers onto their platform. That continues to be a matter of debate, which the city may be able to settle if the firm provides sufficient data.

But a pilot program that negates fingerprint background checks could be a hard sale for some council members. Councilman Joe Krier says he’s finely attuned to the “list of problems” Uber has had in cities around the world.

“I am not inclined to give up the fingerprint requirement,” he said. “I have not been persuaded that there is an alternative to that that ensures citizen safety.”

Councilman Ray Lopez, too, hasn’t been convinced that there’s room for negotiation there. He said he believes that the taxi industry’s end game is keeping TNCs from operating in San Antonio, and that’s not realistic.

“Their ultimate goal is to keep (the TNCs) out of here,” he said. “That’s not my goal. I don’t think it’s anyone on council’s goal.”

See here for the last update. The main difference between this time and the last time is that now Mayor Ivy Taylor wants to get Uber and Lyft into San Antonio, where before she was at best indifferent and most hostile to them, to the point that it was a campaign issue against her. That didn’t stop her from getting elected, but she changed her tune anyway. We’ll see how it goes this time.

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