San Antonio Councilmember Robert Trevino is accusing Uber of backing out of a deal he says the transportation company and the City struck together in March.
The District 1 councilman says Uber helped draft the final ordinance as the City sought to keep them in San Antonio, then did an about face and decided to leave.
On April 1st, the ordinance governing Uber and Lyft operations in the Alamo City went into effect. Because the two ride-hailing companies decided not to comply with City requirements for background checks, fees, and insurance provisions they’re not allowed to fully operate in San Antonio.
In an interview with NowCastSA, Trevino said in the weeks leading up to the final ordinance that reduced restrictions for the companies, attorneys for Uber and the City jointly wrote the new language in the ordinance.
(See video posted below)
“We negotiated in good faith. They co-wrote the amendment and then decided that they’re going to make people think we’re creating another process that’s way too onerous, when in fact this is a much better process, much better amendment, much better ordinance all together,” Trevino said.
Trevino is speaking out in the midst of his election campaign because he wants voters to know Uber pulled up stakes after council members tried to accommodate the company so it would continue operating in San Antonio.
In a separate interview, San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor also said the council tried to accommodate the ride hailing company. She told TPR’s Shelley Kofler the breakdown came over a requirement for Uber drivers to pass a 10-fingerprint background check which is something required of taxi drivers. Taylor says the fingerprinting is important for public safety and Uber has agreed to it in other cities.
“What the Uber folks said to me was that, well, it was a bad idea for us to agree to that in other cities and so we’re not going to agree to do it in San Antonio,” Taylor said.
In an interview immediately after the council vote in March, Uber General Manager Chris Nakutis told a story different from Trevino’s. Nakutis claimed the company hadn’t seen the changes to the ordinance that Trevino said Uber helped write.
Here’s the conversation TPR’s Joey Palacios had with Nakutis then:
TPR: “What is that y’all don’t like about the amendments that were passed?”
NAKUTIS: “We’d actually have to look and review. Until we see something on paper we can’t comment but I know they’ve made changes to the insurance which are not going to be acceptable.”
TPR asked Uber to respond to Councilman Trevino’s claim that company representatives helped write the final version of the ordinance and knew what was in it. In a statement Sunday night Uber didn’t answer the question. Uber’s statement said: “Insinuating that we inappropriately influenced this process ignores the reality and gravity of the situation in San Antonio,” where the company chose not to stay.