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Despite Judge's Ruling, SAPD To Continue Enforcing Vehicle-For-Hire Ordinance

Ryan Loyd
TPR News

San Antonio Police will continue to enforce the city's vehicle-for-hire ordinance despite a ruling by a Houston judge that allows the so-called ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber to continue operation.

This week U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore declined to issue a temporary restraining order against Lyft and Uber.

Attorney Martyn Hill, who filed a lawsuit on behalf of taxi drivers in Houston and San Antonio, claims the companies, which purport to be ride-sharing networks, aren't following strict vehicle-for-hire regulations that taxicabs must follow. Hill hoped the judge would stop them from operating.

But the court isn't stopping SAPD from following city laws. A department spokesperson said their concern continues to be public safety.

"We will write citations for violations of the city ordinance as they come to our attention," the spokesperson said.

Hill said the pending lawsuit explains that the companies aren't licensed, they don't have proper insurance, and aren't charging regulated rates.

"They continue to say they're ride share, which is two people going to a common destination and only sharing expenses," said Hill. That's opposed to a vehicle-for-hire, which is a passenger who hires the driver to take them to a specific destination, which is not ride-share, he said.

The judge set a court date for July for an injunction hearing.

A Lyft representative has told TPR that the company believes the lawsuit is without merit. They said Lyft fills an economic and transportation need for both drivers and passengers in Houston and San Antonio, and that they will continue to provide safe, reliable rides that benefit the local community.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.