2 thoughts on “City Council Puts Brakes on Looser Taxi Regulations

  1. Based on the reporting, I find it sad that/if:

    – There’s been no talk of a service fee for app based rideshare for curb service (pick up and drop off) at SAT airport comparable to what taxis currently pay. Most other U.S. cities including other cities in Texas (it’s not impacted by new state legislation) charge rideshare airport service fees of some amount, and San Antonio has been losing a revenue stream (for improving mass transit and the airport, addressing congestion and air quality, etc). without one. It’s also not fair that taxis pay an airport service fee ($1) when app based rideshare does not; and

    – There’s been no talk or recognition of San Antonio’s past electric taxi efforts / City ordinance — which yielded positive national attention and increased the number of taxi permits available citywide while also waiving some fees and improving access to key sites for electric and hybrid vehicles. Apparently, in 2008, more than 70 of the city’s 843 permitted taxis at that time were hybrid or electric vehicles — what is the count / percentage in 2017? What has been the Toyota commitment to this program? Nissan? Tesla? Mitsubishi?

    Based on reports, the current conversation doesn’t seem to be framing the discussion around basic ‘public good’ considerations including air quality, vehicle electrification, congestion and equity in access and fees at key City locations including the airport (noting incredibly weak VIA bus service to the airport currently, and particularly in the evenings).

    It also raises the question why isn’t San Antonio trying to at least match neighboring Austin in mass transit service improvements (public and private) for our tricentennial year?

    Specifically:

    – Why has the City not worked to lure Ford’s Chariot service to San Antonio (currently Chariot vans can be chartered between San Antonio and Austin), noting how Ford was a major sponsor of Hemisfair ’68 and regular Chariot service could support more mass transit use and walking locally;

    – Why hasn’t the City established a Megabus stop downtown, instead allowing Megabus to languish in a ‘temporary’ location far south on Probandt and away from downtown that is not accessible by sidewalk/walking/ADA and has poor VIA service or BCycle access? Meanwhile, Austin has created a downtown Megabus depot near the capitol building, making use of a vacant site;

    – Why hasn’t the City worked with bus company Vonlane to establish service between San Antonio, Austin and Dallas? Currently Vonlane services in San Antonio are limited to Houston;

    – Why hasn’t San Antonio and Bexar County invested in our regional transit service — ART — so that it runs comparable to and connects (in San Marcos) with CARTS, the Austin-San Marcos-Georgetown etc. regional system? Noting how such an investment could improve access to and use of SAT; and

    – Why is VIA bus service at SAT limited to hourly after 7:40pm and ended at 9:40pm, given that at least 18 separate international flights (looking at code-shares) and 14 additional domestic flights (32 passenger flights in total) land after 7:45pm until midnight, with much arrival activity after 10pm? VIA bus services at the airport are not aligned with current SAT flight services. Service between SAT and at least North Star Hub should be frequent (at least every 15 minutes) throughout the SAT operating day (until at least 1am).

    Hopefully the conversation does shift to the Transportation Committee, and that Committee works hard in the next months to make up some lost ground.

    See:

    Texas regulation of rideshare not impacting airport requirements
    https://www.uber.com/info/texas-regulations/

    San Antonio’s past innovative hybrid/electric taxi program:
    https://www.afdc.energy.gov/pdfs/45148.pdf

    Ford’s Chariot service in Austin:
    https://www.chariot.com/

    Vonlane service (noting the gap between San Antonio-Austin-Dallas):
    https://www.vonlane.com/

    New downtown Megabus depot in Austin (use of a vacant gas station):
    http://kxan.com/2017/01/05/megabus-debuts-new-stop-closer-to-downtown-austin/

    ART system:
    https://www.aacog.com/67/Alamo-Regional-Transit

    CARTS system:
    http://www.ridecarts.com/

    SAT Arrivals – with much activity (approximately 32 flights landing) after 7:45pm until midnight:
    http://www.flightstats.com/go/FlightStatus/flightStatusByAirport.do

    VIA’s 5/30 bus schedule — the only airport service — which should be replaced with a frequent shuttle (at least every 15 minutes) between SAT and North Star Transit Center. The 5 bus runs at strange intervals — every 20, 30, 40 or 60 minutes depending on the hour of the day — and only until 9:44pm weekdays currently:
    http://www.viainfo.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Schedule005CSP.pdf

  2. I have been in tbe taxi industry for 37 years when no independent operators companies existed and or driver owned co-op existed as they do today. Today we have 23 mom and pop services with over 300 drivers. Half of these services are driver owned co-op which Hector Garcia is a member of one Star Cab Co-op.

    Back then in the before the 70s we all drove for Yellow or Checker Cab if we wanted to be in the business. In 1978
    drivers petition the new district elected council to allow them to operate under our own permit. The city approved the single company permits to later require companies to consolidate with other individuals and form 7 permit companies or CO-OPs. Why you may ask, because it was to much work for city staff to regulate single permit companies. So my question is should history repeat itself?

    The new permits being asked for are being asked for at the worst time in our industry. Both drivers and companies are struggling as an industry to stay in business. We have lost 50 percent of our business to the preditory fare practices of Uber. So how does it make sense that at a time where we have lost so many customer we would add more cabs to a stuggling industry?

    The Transportation Advisory Board and the majority of our drivers and owners objected to more permits. The industry professionals are not wrong and the committee was right in listening to them.

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