Ridesharing debate continues to heat up - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Ridesharing debate continues to heat up

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Ridesharing is legal in Austin. It's when you start paying for your rides that you start driving between the lines.

"There's a controversy about providing transportation for compensation and I try to make sure people understand what the real controversy is," said Ed Kargbo, the President of Yellow Cab Austin. "I think there's absolutely no truth to people thinking that taxis have a monopoly."

"Public safety and regulation is great, but not when it's used just to protect one group against another," said Larry Salzman, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, which is representing some ride sharing drivers.

Several drivers have been operating outside of the city ordinance.

Salzman said, "It's one thing to require a licensed driver, insurance, a safe and inspected car. It's something completely different to protect the taxis from competition, that's what we're against."

The ridesharing groups don't like being referred to as TNC's or transportation network companies.

But then again, the cabs don't appreciate being called "taxi cartels."

"Cartels operate in a manner that is outside of the law," said Ed. "We are following the law and they are breaking the law, so you tell me who's the cartel."

One point both sides can agree on is that there is a growing need and demand for transportation services in Austin.

Ed countered, "If you study their model and compare it to the model of the taxi cab companies locally, we actually operate the same way."

"Uber and Lyft is a great opportunity and we would like to see these opportunities spread and not be stifled by government regulations," said Larry.

"The industry has offered several solutions that have been swept aside thus far," Ed said.

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