On November 4th, new rules recently passed by Houston’s City Council allowing ridesharing services like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar to operate in Houston will go into effect. Typically this would be cause for celebration. Ridesharing services have won the hearts and minds of their users, but often outmoded rules and regulations – put in place well before the invention of the Internet – stand in the way of innovation, competition, and choice.
In Houston’s case, however, the new rules codify an onerous, duplicative, and costly process for both taxpayers and drivers, while providing no additional safety benefit to the public. In fact, a memo from the City’s Administration & Regulatory Affairs department highlights the need for new employees to comply with the new ridesharing regulations. The cost to taxpayers will likely exceed $600,000.
Other cities and states that have embraced ridesharing, including Austin, Tulsa, and California have found ways to ensure passenger safety while not creating new and expensive bureaucracies that cost taxpayers and drivers in their jurisdictions. Ridesharing services have stellar safety records, and they are a benefit to their communities.
The Internet industry stands with Houston’s residents, drivers, and ridesharing companies in support of streamlined ridesharing regulations to be adopted before the November 4th deadline. Ridesharing services like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar have revolutionized the way we move around our cities, and Houstonians have embraced it as a safe, innovative, and cost effective transportation option.