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A proposed transportation-for-hire ordinance is intended to “create a level playing field, ” says the draft outline sent to Mayor Mike Rawlings, the Dallas City Council, city manager A.C. Gonzalez and members of Sandy Greyson’s work group late Wednesday.
The ordinance, which comes eight months after the debate over Uber and other app-ordered car services pulled into Dallas City Council chambers, would, among other things, do away with “caps on the number of transportation-for-hire vehicles” and “regulations of fares.” Right now, for instance Yellow Cab owns most of the 2, 022 stickers needed to get a cab on the road. The proposed ordinance would essentially end Yellow Cab’s position as a “regulated monopoly, ” as council member Scott Griggs called it in January.
The proposed ordinance also requires that every company with a car on the road provides insurance — “regardless of whether the driver has a separate policy.”
The new ordinance, which is still in its infancy, says it would “ensure that transportation-for-hire is a viable alternative to other forms of public transportation.”
Greyson and other council members and city officials won’t comment on the proposal until after tomorrow’s meeting of the work group, which begins at 11 a.m. Several messages have also been left for Uber and Lyft representatives.
Says the proposed ordinance, every company must have an operating authority permit, which lists every car in the fleet, expires annually and can be suspended and isn’t transferable. Yellow Cab would need the permit; so too Uber’s black-car service or Lyft’s ride-sharing service or, for that matter, horse carriages or pedicabs — or any company that charges for ridesharing (as opposed to, say, carpooling).
Drivers will need separate permits, which they can only get after extensive background checks, a drug test and a training class that’s “sponsored by the city and run by a contractor on city regulations, familiarity with the city, and customer service.” That permit would be good only for two years, and must be displayed in the vehicle at all times.
Companies and their drivers aren’t the only thing needing permits. Vehicles will need them too — and, for starters, they can’t be older than 10 years or have more than 250, 000 miles on them. But the draft ordinance says there’s no minimum cost for a vehicle — a far cry from the $45, 000 minimum Yellow Cab tried to set last August in its efforts to ride Uber out of town.
That operating authority permit would cost $1, 000 per year. There’s also a fee for the driver’s permit: $50 a year. On top of that, there’s also a fee for the vehicle permit: $100 a year.
The draft ordinance does allow for hailing by app — which Yellow Cab also tried to stop last year — and demands “city-wide service, ” in an attempt to address Transportation and Trinity River Project Committee chair Vonciel Jones Hill’s unsubstantiated claims that Uber is engaged in red-lining south of the Trinity River.
It will be up to an already overstretched Code Compliance department to enforce many of the new rules.
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