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Future of ride-sharing threatened in Bexar County

Drivers must obtain permit to drop off passengers in SA

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SAN ANTONIO – A closer examination of the city's new ride-share laws has threatened Uber's plans to operate in the cities surrounding San Antonio.

Despite the approval of new laws this month, Uber officials expressed confidence that drivers could still work in surrounding cities such as Alamo Heights and Olmos Park.

But after closer examination of the ordinance, it was decided that drivers would only be able to drop off passengers in San Antonio if they have an operating permit from those surrounding jurisdictions. Currently no other cities in Bexar County offer ride-share permits. 

Uber officials said the interpretation could threaten the company's future in Bexar County.

"Mayor Taylor and the City Council voted to kill jobs in San Antonio and now they're saying they want to kill jobs in other cities," said Uber Texas General Manager Chris Nakutis. "We're going to review the ordinance to see if there is any merit to it. I've never seen a City Council or mayor try to impose something on another city."

The ordinance reads:

"It shall be unlawful for any TNC permitted, licensed, or authorized by another jurisdiction to initiate transportation network service within the corporate boundaries of the city without a permit issued pursuant to this article; provided however, a transportation network vehicle operated by a driver affiliated with a TNC permitted, licensed, or authorized by or in another jurisdiction may come into the city to discharge a passenger whose trip originated outside of the city."

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, a ride-share supporter, said the city's interpretation of the ordinance is correct, but it comes at a cost to county residents who use ride-share services.

"It's to the detriment of this community that they weren't able to (compromise on an ordinance). It's endangering more people on the roadways," Wolff said, reiterating his position that ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft can help the county reduce its number of DWIs.

An Uber driver, who asked to remain anonymous, said the city is over-reaching. The driver, we'll call her Stacy, said if Uber leaves, she'll have to find another means to supplement her income.

"We have every right to drive on San Antonio streets just like the cabs and buses," she said. "I don't know what I am going to do if they make us leave."