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Tech Industry Petitions City to Accept Lyft

The San Antonio tech community, led by heavyweight Rackspace co-founder Graham Weston, have launched a petition on 'change.org' to urge City Council to drop barriers which are preventing the 'ride sharing' services 'Lyft' and 'Uber' from operating freely in San Antonio, 1200 WOAI news reprots.


  The petition, which has been posted for four days, already has 1,000 signatures.


  "This is really about options, and not about somebody being 'good' or 'bad'," Lorenzo Gomez, who heads the tech start up Geekdom.  "We just think there should be more options."


  "The City of San Antonio should embrace policies in support of entrepreneurship, ridesharing, and welcome these apps to San Antonio to combat drunk driving, reduce road congestion, make a positive impact on the environment and improve public safety and transportation options for our community," the petition reads.


  Lyft has faced a rocky road since it attempted to set up shop in San Antonio.  Police Chief William McManus has issued a 'cease and desist' order, telling Lyft to stop operating, warning people who drive for 'Lyft' will be arrested.


  The City Council has so far declined to get involved.  Cab drivers and their supporters have blasted Lyft as racist and classist, because it requires smart phone apps and a debit card to ride Lyft, and many low income people and people of color don't have those things.  Cab companies say Lyft skirts city laws requiring that


  Lyft and Uber call themselves 'ride sharing services,' and claim their business model does not follow city laws requiring that cab drivers transport all customers.  They say many cabbies have spent thousands of dollars to install wheelchair lifts and other devices in their cabs to enable them to do so.  They say cabbies also have to pay thousands of dollars in permit fees to the city, and even pass a course certifying that they know their way around San Antonio, all things that Lyft and Uber drivers don't have to do.


  But Gomez says Lyft is 'better' than taxi cab companies.


  “When you use something like Lyft or Uber, you quickly see that it is a much better mousetrap,” he said.  “It is very easy to use.”


  The petition says Lyft and Uber would 'reduce road congestion' and 'make a positive impact on the environment.'  It is unclear how that would happen, because people who need to travel from one point to another would simply use a Lyft ride rather than their own car, and no trips would be eliminated.


  Lyft and Uber also face a federal lawsuit to require them to cease operations in San Antonio.  A ruling is expected by the end of this month.


  The petition says many tech workers don’t own cars, and points out that many millennials don’t want to own a car, and Lyft and Uber provide them with top quality transportation.





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