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San Antonio Bids A Frosty Farewell, But Uber, Lyft Could Get Warm Suburban Welcome

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
(Left to right) Alamo Heights Mayor Louis Cooper, Windcrest EDC President Tim Maloney, Windcrest Mayor Alan Baxter, Olmos Park Mayor Kenneth Farrimound, and Hollywood Park Mayor Chris Fails meet at Windcrest City Hall to state their support of Uber

  The city of Windcrest passed its resolution at the March 24th council meeting.

Some suburban cities around San Antonio are considering resolutions that would encourage ride-booking companies like Uber to operate in their communities. Windcrest could be the first suburb to take such action. The Windcrest city council passed a resolution on this Tuesday night and residents will vote on the issue starting 6 p.m Wednesday.

There is a background to this. Come April 1, ride-booking companies Uber and Lyft are pulling out of the City of San Antonio. They have objected to an ordinance the city council revised this month. However that pullout doesn’t prevent the companies from operating in the unincorporated county and smaller cities like Windcrest. 

A resolution drafted by Uber is up for consideration in several of the small cities. Windcrest Mayor Alan Baxter said the resolution was not needed to operate but it sent a message across. “We want to make sure that they know they’re welcome in these other cities.”

Baxter was joined by the mayors of Alamo Heights, Olmos Park, Terrell Hills, and Hollywood Park, all of who held that they were in support of similar measures. Alamo Heights Mayor Louis Cooper said it was easier for smaller towns to manage companies like Uber and Lyft. “For our small city, we think that the agreement that they gave us works. Our citizens have been using Uber for months and months and we’ve had no problems, no different than [if] we’ve had no problems with taxis.”

The suburban resolution does not have the additional regulations required by San Antonio. Instead Mayor Baxter said Uber’s current standards, which include background checks and an insurance policy, would meet the suburb’s expectations. Because Uber is refusing to comply with San Antonio’s ordinance, Uber cannot pick up riders there. But in the suburban towns that adopt the resolution, drivers can pick up fares and drop them off, including in the Alamo City.

The official response from SAPD on ride-booking drivers using San Antonio streets:

In order to traverse SA city streets to any extent, drivers who are not permitted in San Antonio must be permitted in the city where they picked up to be legal.  If they are permitted in City A, but not San Antonio, they may pick up in City A and drop or pass through San Antonio legally.  If they are only permitted in City A, but not in City B, they may not pick up in City B and drop or travel in San Antonio.