• October 28, 2016

Cab company wants rules for ridesharing competitors

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 10:39 pm

Before she left the lectern at Tuesday night’s City Council workshop, Sandra James wanted to make one thing clear: It was not all Uber drivers in Killeen she had a problem with. Just those who don’t play by the rules.

“Mayor Segarra says that competition is legal, competition is good,” she said. “But do it the way I have to do it.”

James and Kevin Grimme, of Luxury Cab Co., stood before the council and warned it of potential hazards ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft carry with them. Residents get into a confined space with these drivers, he said, and without any sort of regulation, the company can be a major hazard to public safety.

“How can you trust this company that has no ties to our community?” he said. “This leaves the city with unknown, unpermitted drivers that lack a detailed log of fares.”

Councilman Juan Rivera told both James and Grimme that he himself is an Uber user.

“Let’s not make anyone criminal,” he said.

Ride-sharing companies do have regulations. Uber specifically requires a clean driving record and performs background checks to make sure that the driver candidate has no incidents of driving without insurance or a license, no reckless driving charges, no DUI history and no fatal accidents in his or her past. In order to be hired as an Uber driver, the car intended for use must be newer than 2001, and cannot have any body flaws. It must have four doors and working seat belts, and also pass an inspection from a certified shop.

Among Grimme and James’ major concerns were that Uber drivers were going against typical ride-sharing companies’ regulations. Normally, a driver can pick up a passenger only if the driver is requested using the company’s smartphone app. It is against policy to pick up a passenger and transport them without an electronic request. But the drivers of Luxury Cab claim that Uber and Lyft drivers are camping out by the airport and nightclubs, soliciting potential passengers.

“We’re not saying that Uber shouldn’t be driving, we’re asking that they follow the same rules that we have to follow,” James said.

Councilman Jonathan Okray asked that the issue be brought up again before the formal council.

Area taxi drivers, Grimme said, must have background checks done by local police before they’re allowed to drive a cab.

Back in July, Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra said Uber creates jobs. He didn’t see any safety concerns arise with the service.

“If we saw something that caused safety hazards, we would take a look at it, but we haven’t had a major issue with it (Uber),” Segarra said then. Segarra was on a family trip and not at the council meeting Tuesday.

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • keitholiver1968 posted at 3:08 am on Wed, Oct 26, 2016.

    keitholiver1968 Posts: 25

    Sounds like to me that the taxi company is losing a lot of business and with good reason. It is that rideshare services like Uber and lyft change way less than the cab companies. Moreover, rideshare drivers like uber are at your location within 5 minutes in most cases whereas, waiting for a cab to arrive at your location takes about 30 minutes or longer. That is a big difference there people.

    Another example is the cost and here it is. I once took a cab from where I live to the Starbucks at Lowe's Blvd. That fare cost me $25.00 total. Now, after I got done with the business I had to do in that area. I decided to instead call for another cab and pay another $25.00 or wait for an hour for that local bus that ends their day at 1800 hrs. I called Uber instead. That fare only cost me $11.00, that's it!

    Now you tell me people. Which one is better? Now, here is another thing. These cabs that are running around here in Killeen, Harker Heights, Cove and so on have so many faults with their cars to include Engine warning lights on and other maintenance problems that one would have to ask if that cab is actually safe to ride in the first place? I wont mention any names but one of the owners of that cab company is pictured!

    But if you want to ban rideshare, that's okay! Then you might as well ban designated drivers as well. You know, the ones that drive people home because they are too drunk to drive. Guess we will be seeing a lot more of them on the roads killing others all because you gripe about silly stuff!

  • gibson74 posted at 8:59 am on Thu, Oct 20, 2016.

    gibson74 Posts: 5

    The City should remove all the strangling regulations that the cab companies have to abide by and maybe they could compete with Uber. They would be able to offer cheaper rates because they would have less of an overhead. All the cab companies want is a level playing field. Killeen should not be picking winners and losers. Juan Rivera, do Uber drivers pay a City of Killeen Franchise tax?

  • Dr Strangelove posted at 7:57 am on Thu, Oct 20, 2016.

    Dr Strangelove Posts: 1121

    I say again because Uber is NOT a Taxi Cab Company.

  • ppage posted at 9:20 pm on Wed, Oct 19, 2016.

    ppage Posts: 5

    These cab companies are not asking that the City of Killeen ban Uber and Lyft from their city. They are asking that they abide by the city ordinance. The same city ordinance that cab companies are required to abide by. Cabs being permitted, finger printing, etc. If Uber and Lyft can not abide by this city ordinance, then and only then, Uber and Lyft should be banned from Killeen. If cab companies in Killeen do not follow this ordinance, they are fined $500.00. Why is Uber not fined?

  • Dr Strangelove posted at 7:02 pm on Wed, Oct 19, 2016.

    Dr Strangelove Posts: 1121

    Oh yes these Cab Companies are crying because people will choose a cheaper fare than those expensive Taxis. Some of those companies had a monopoly around Fort Hood when it was Camp Hood in the forties. It’s about time they got their bubble busted. They can solve the problem; lower their fares. It’s called business if you can’t compete get out.

  • SomeOldGuy posted at 2:53 pm on Wed, Oct 19, 2016.

    SomeOldGuy Posts: 3

    Perhaps the council should ask how the company plans to serve the community with a fleet that's been cut nearly in half. To the point:

    "Since 2013, Luxury Cab in Killeen has acquired Express Cab, Kelly Cab, Yellow Cab, CC Cab Inc., and Killeen Cab, with a consolidated fleet of ten vehicles. Overall, the number of vehicles has decreased from 60 vehicles to 34 vehicles. Additionally, the number of providers has decreased from twelve companies to three companies."

    Source: Report by Texas A&M to the Regional Transportation Advisory Group, Aug. 10, 2016

  • txblubonnet posted at 11:42 am on Wed, Oct 19, 2016.

    txblubonnet Posts: 22

    absolutely agree with you on this one.

  • ppage posted at 11:28 am on Wed, Oct 19, 2016.

    ppage Posts: 5

    We know that Uber is not a "taxi cab" company. But they are a "ground transportation" service. Again, Chapter 29 (Transportation), Article II (Ground Transportation Services Other Than Taxi Cabs) explains it all. Luxury Cab is not boo hooing. And neither are all the other cab companies that are following the City Ordinance. All that the taxi cab companies are asking is that Uber and Lyft follow the ordinance or deregulate the taxi cab companies so that taxi cab companies can compete on equal terms.

  • Dr Strangelove posted at 10:26 am on Wed, Oct 19, 2016.

    Dr Strangelove Posts: 1121

    Uber is not a Taxi company it's a ride share service.

  • Dr Strangelove posted at 10:25 am on Wed, Oct 19, 2016.

    Dr Strangelove Posts: 1121

    Oh Boo Hoo Cab companies! Taxi companies don’t like the competition Uber is a better and cheaper service. So you Cab companies need to start lowing you fares.

  • ppage posted at 8:56 am on Wed, Oct 19, 2016.

    ppage Posts: 5

    My question is - why do cab companies have to follow the cities Transportation Ordinance and Uber and Lyft do not? Chapter 29 of the Killeen City Ordinance explains it all. Luxury Cab is just asking that EVERYONE follow the same rules.

  • gibson74 posted at 8:36 am on Wed, Oct 19, 2016.

    gibson74 Posts: 5

    Start selling real estate for 2% commission and see who will be the first to scream, Segarra. He does not want the cab company to compete with Uber. All the heavy regulations are on the local cab company and Uber does not have to be held under the same standards. I would never use the Uber driver unless they are held to the same regulations. He is picking winners and losers.