City Officials: Uber Skirting the Law in Bryan, College Station

By: David Norris Email
By: David Norris Email

COLLEGE STATION, Texas City officials said Uber, the ride-share app that's taken the Nation by storm, is operating outside city regulations.

Uber launched in the area Thursday as an alternative to traditional taxi services. The app tracks your location, as well as Uber drivers nearby. Uber officials said once you make a request, a driver should be to your location in less than five minutes.

Itay Bengal, co-founder of uRide, a similar app-based ride share program, said he wanted to check out his competition. He tried to get a ride over the Labor Day weekend, constantly checking for available drivers with no luck. He said it took him five days to find one.

"I finally got a ride, and according to him, there are basically ten drivers in town," said Bengal.

Uber officials said they've partnered with dozens of drivers in the area, and need time to build up a larger number. But even if those numbers go up, city officials said Uber is operating outside the law.

In both Bryan and College Station, taxi services are bound by certain legal requirements, including vehicle registration and driver permits.

Both Bryan and College Station officials said to operate legally, Uber must abide by the same rules. So far, they have not.

uRide owner Robert Dicks said even though they too are a ride share service, his fleet of seven vehicles meets those city requirements.

"I want to make sure that the customer base and Uber's driver base are being treated fairly," said Dicks. "And that Uber is doing things the right way to protect its drivers and customers."

College Station officials said they're actively reviewing Uber and its practices to determine an appropriate approach.

Bryan officials said if police encounter a taxi service that does not have a service license, the company could receive a citation and/or a fine.

Several cities, and at least one state, have issued cease and desist orders to Uber and similar ride sharing companies.


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