Houston City Council Will Hear More Comment On Ridesharing Services

Jul. 29, 2014Houston Public Media

There will be one more public comment session before City Council is scheduled to vote on a proposed ordinance that would allow rideshare services like Lyft and Uber to operate legally. Council is expected to vote on the issue at Wednesday’s meeting.
The companies use an app-based system that allows riders to connect with drivers who give rides in their personal vehicles. Customers also use the app to pay for those rides.

There isn’t anything in Houston’s current ordinances to regulate those services. Council was supposed to vote on the issue last month but City Councilman Mike Laster asked for a delay to study the issue further.

Laster says Lyft and Uber are providing rides like any other transportation service and they have to be regulated.

“The new entrants aren’t merely an application company or a computer company. If you press the app for Uber or Lyft they’re going to send you a car. They’re not going to send you a computer.”

Uber and Lyft say people all over the world are successfully using the services, and competition will give people more options to get around town. But Laster questions whether they’re safe.

“We’ve got to make sure that any new entrant into the market, make sure that their drivers have thorough background checks, that their cars and vehicles have been thoroughly inspected.”

The city’s proposed ordinance addresses issues such as insurance for rideshare services, along with driver requirements and accessibility for the disabled.

Houston City Council will hear public comment on the issue at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.