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Government/Politics

San Antonio City Council Approves Operating Agreement With Lyft.

TaylorLyft.jpg
Joey Palacios
/
Texas Public Radio
Mayor Ivy Taylor and Councilmembers Robert Trevino and Alan Warrick pose with Lyft employees and drivers

Updated:

The ride-booking company Lyft is making a return to San Antonio following approval of a new agreement by the San Antonio City Council Thursday.

The nine month operating agreement passed by a 6-5 vote. It was a contentions discussion with Mike Gallagher, Cris Medina, Shirley Gonzales, Rebecca Viagran, and Ray Lopez dissenting.

Shortly after the decision, Mayor Ivy Taylor said in a city with limited transportation options it’s important to have choices. “This pilot program allows us to offer that option to promote consumer choice, for the city to still take a lead role in promoting public safety, and for us to gather data,” she added.

Under a previous ordinance passed in March of this year, Lyft drivers would have to submit to an FBI background check in addition to Lyft’s own background check which does not include finger printing. This also applied to Uber and similar competitors. However, the new agreement lets the FBI check become an option.

“The agreement requires us to do our third-party background check annually,” said April Mims, a public policy manager for Lyft.

Under the agreement, riders will be able to see if the driver has undergone the FBI background check and decide for themselves if they want to use that driver.

Yellow Cab San Antonio President John Bouloubasis said public safety is a priority, and background checks should not be an option. “It’s unfair that the other companies don’t want their driver’s to do it, but Yellow Cab and the other cab companies will always do what we’ve always done and it’s the standard that the city deserves.”

The agreement is only in place for Lyft and the company doesn’t know when operations will begin again. Uber has submitted a proposal to the city. It’s unknown when the city will consider it.

Original story:

The ride-booking company Lyft will return to San Antonio following approval of an operating agreement by the City Council. It was a contentious decision among council members with Mike Gallagher, Shirley Gonzalez, Cris Medina, Rebecca Viagran, and Ray Lopez dissenting.

Mayor Ivy Taylor who, supported, the agreement before the vote said "an affirmative vote today will be a big step for our community. No other city has worked as closely as we have."

The agreement is for nine months and will allow the city to evaluate how Lyft operates. It allows for optional FBI background checks for Lyft drivers; the company however performs its own third-party background checks. Lyft is not sure when operations will resume In San Antonio.

TPR will have a full story this afternoon.