HOUSTON, Texas — On Tuesday the Houston City Council voted 10-5 to allow Uber and Lyft to operate in the city, so long as certain rules–those already applying to taxi, limo, and shuttle services–are followed.
The two services allow consumers to seek out rides using smartphone apps. They are then connected with a driver, who picks them up using a personal vehicle. Payments, charged through the apps, are made in cash.
Uber and Lift are gaining popularity in cities around the nation. Lawmakers have struggled to find a balance between supporting innovation and ensuring the safety of consumers.
The City Council’s Tuesday debate on the issue revolved heavily around safety concerns, according to the Houston Chronicle. Council members apparently offered various amendment “most focused on protecting consumers, treating established industry fairly and ensuring fair access for the disabled,” the Chronicle reported.
The public’s reaction to the City Council’s decision appears to be mixed.
“In my opinion, this is only a partial victory,” Houston resident Ashley Scheirman told Breitbart Texas. “What I mean by that is the real problem wasn’t with Uber and Lyft–it was with government imposing taxes and fees on other forms of transportation and those taxes and fees should not exist. If those taxes and fees did not exist then Uber and Lyft would have been welcomed and free market would have balanced it out. All this ‘victory’ is doing is progressing the crony agenda.”
Elliott Scheirman, also a Houston resident, shared the sentiment and told Breitbart Texas, “This isn’t a case of victory for Uber and Lyft. They now have to operate under a new set of arbitrary regulations largely crafted to protect the cartel of their chief competition, the taxi lobby.”
The taxi companies are also not happy, and very much opposed the proposal, according to ABC13.
This fall, Dallas is also expected to decide whether or not Lyft and Uber can operate in their city. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings reportedly said, “The marketplace is changing, and it will continue to change. We have got to be in a place where we let the marketplace speak to us and react appropriately.”
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.