Tag: Uber

Ridesharing Under Heavy Regulation in San Antonio

imgres-7Ridesharing is in the hotseat in San Antonio.

Last Thursday, the San Antonio City Council passed changes to its code to allow services like Lyft and Uber to operate legally in the city.

But Uber and Lyft call the city’s regulations too costly and cumbersome. Uber reported it might leave the city altogether if the regulations passed. Uber even posted an online petition which has garnered 10,877 signatures, to oppose the regulations.

“The proposed ordinance creates extensive, unnecessary requirements for part-time drivers, creates barriers to entry for drivers and significantly deviates from the standards set by every other Texas municipality that has enacted TNC regulations,” according to a letter Uber wrote to the city council.

The new regulations require “transportation network companies,” also known to most people as ride-sharing companies, to train and vet their drivers and require vehicle inspections and insurance.

Uber already complies with the insurance requirements; mandating drivers carry $1 million in automobile liability coverage. It’s the other requirements that would require Uber drivers to pay up to $300 a year to comply with the regulations, according to Uber’s letter. Those regulations would require drivers to get a full physical and eye exam before driving, take a pre-scheduled drug test, complete a defensive driving course, and “have the vehicle subject to expensive, random checks even though they would also be required to have a third-party inspection by an ASE certified mechanic.”

The city leaders think the regulations will make ridesharing safer, according to its statement. But Uber reports that cases of DWI go down in cities in which it operates.

“I am pleased to welcome Lyft, Uber, and other TNCs to San Antonio. We look forward to the convenience and economic benefits this will bring to San Antonio and its residents,” Mayor Ivy R. Taylor said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for Lyft told Reuters that the San Antonio regulations were some of the most burdensome they had encountered. Lyft, founded in 2012, currently operates in 65 cities.

The San Antonio Express News’ Brian Chasnoff wrote a column about taxicab contributions to city council members suggesting money from the incumbent industry influenced the vote.

First Lyft, Now Uber Launches in San Antonio

Founder Silicon Hills News

Photo courtesy of Lyft

Photo courtesy of Lyft

On March 21, Lyft, the riding sharing service, launched in San Antonio.

Last week, Police Chief William McManus held a press conference announcing that Lyft drivers would be arrested and issued the company a cease and desist order, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

Next, Mayor Julian Castro announced that the city should work with Lyft and other innovative startups looking to operate in San Antonio.

“We can make Lyft, Uber and similar services work in San Antonio,” Castro wrote in a post on Facebook. “They need to meet strong standards for safety and quality (insurance, driver background checks, etc.), but they should be part of the equation. Figuring that out will take some time, but we’ll get it done. San Antonio is moving forward, not standing still.”

And on Friday, another ride sharing service, Uber, launched.

“San Antonio, The road to get here has been long, and while we’re still working to break the mold of traditional ways of thinking, we’re proud and pumped to be launching in Alamo City,” according to a blog post. “As you may already know, we’re big fans of bringing innovative and efficient transportation options to the world and are thrilled that San Antonio now gets to embrace and enjoy the Uber lifestyle.”

Uber and Lyft are not available in Austin, which has banned ride sharing services. HeyRide launched in 2012 there and was shut down by the city and then acquired by Sidecar, another ride sharing app.

The taxi industry opposes the ride sharing apps because they say that they are not safe and that they do not do background checks on their drivers. But both Lyft and Uber state that they do background checks on their drivers.

But Lyft and Uber operate in dozens of cities around the country. They have been embraced by the collaborative community that sees ridesharing as a natural evolution of the transportation industry.

SideCar Buys HeyRide of Austin

imgres-13Well that didn’t last long.
One minute, Heyride is making all this noise in Austin and disrupting the taxi industry there.
And the next, it’s swallowed whole by SideCar, a competitor, based in Silicon Valley.
On Thursday, SideCar, a ridesharing startup, announced it acquired the assets of Heyride.
SideCar has a free app for smart phones that hooks people who need rides up with pre-screened drivers.
SideCar is making the acquisition just in time for SXSW. That’s where Josh Huck, the founder and CEO of Heyride, got the idea to create Heyride in 2012. He noticed a shortage of cabs and wished there was a better way to get from place to place than taking a traditional taxi.
While Heyride was only available in Austin, SideCar offers its services in San Francisco and Seattle and has already provided people with more than 100,000 rides. The company will expand its service to Philadelphia, Austin and Los Angeles this weekend and is actively recruiting drivers in New York, Chicago, Washington, DC and Boston.
“We’ve heard from people across the country and around the world that they want the SideCar community to take root in their cities and towns,” Sunil Paul, CEO of SideCar, said in a news release. “Heyride’s talented team has developed a unique design and experience that will help take the rideshare movement we started here in San Francisco nationwide. We are thrilled to welcome Heyride to the SideCar family.”
Heyride had five full time employees. They will join the SideCar staff. Silicon Hills News did this interview with Huck last November.
imgres-12SideCar has raised $10 million from investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Google Ventures, Spring Ventures, Huron River Ventures, SV Angel, Lerer Ventures and others.
Heyride raised $400,000 from Silverton Partners in Austin.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The ridesharing industry is beginning to take off despite some early regulatory troubles. In addition to the traditional taxi cabs, Sidecar faces competition from startups Uber and Lyft.

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