Skip to Content

City Leaders and Organizations heeding Uber threats

A city leader and one organization are paying attention to Uber’s latest threat.

Uber an app that puts those looking for a ride in touch with drivers –tells city leaders in a letter that it will pull out of El Paso if the city council passes an ordinance putting the company’s drivers in the same category with taxi operators.

The app has not only gained popularity since it started in 2014, it’s also provided employment for hundreds of drivers.

Taxi drivers across the nation have argued that Uber drivers don’t have pay to get costly permits, putting them at an unfair advantage. But the idea of losing Uber in El Paso has some concerned.

“The ordinance was to level the playing field with the taxi drivers here so they can compete better with companies like Uber,” said Peter Svarzbein, District 1 City Rep.

But, “Uber is a wonderful tool that enhances the quality of life of many different El Pasoans from the east side to the west side from downtown to central, to the northeast,” Svarzbein said.

Svarsbein is talking about the Vehicle For Hire ordinance. The ordinance will go before city council in May.

The ordinance: “Would require drivers to complete unnecessary and and duplicative steps that make it difficult for them to earn extra money and hurt our ability to ensure that riders have access to reliable and affordable transportation,” said Leandre Johns, Uber general manager, North and West Texas.

Svarzbein tells ABC-7 he understands arguments of taxi companies need to be heard.

“I think it comes down to a balance. Other cities have lost Uber there. I think we can have a system in place where it’s fair to the rights of El Pasoans but also make sure that Uber stays here in El Paso,” Svarzbein said.

Uber, he said, is “the kind of amenity that keeps drunks off the road.” And it “allows citizens of El Paso who might be in between jobs or want to supplement their income the ability to do so,” Svarzbein said.

And speaking of drunk driving..

“We are able to do everything through our telephone now so I see a lot of individuals that are in their youth, that are young adults, that do take Uber as an option rather than getting behind the wheel,” said Vanessa Marquez, program manager of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Marquez says the organization does have a partnership with Uber but wants to keep all options open.

“Whether it is a shared ride like Uber or taxis as many options as we have that’s better for our community because it makes our streets safer,” Marquez said.

So far this year, Uber has ceased operation in Galveston, Midland and Corpus Christi.

The city council will vote on a new version of the Vehicle For Hire ordinance May 17.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo



KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content