Frustrated taxi and limo service operators want Oklahoma City police to ticket Uber drivers, but city officials are taking a cautious approach to dealing with the smartphone app-based ride-for-hire program.
Oklahoma City police Sgt. Leroy Dancy told members of the Oklahoma City Traffic and Transportation Commission on Monday that city officials continue to scrutinize the company to determine if it is violating city ride-for-hire ordinances.
“We haven't come to a final conclusion yet,” he said.
Dancy told The Oklahoman he doesn't know how long it will take to complete the city's investigation.
“We just know when we know,” Dancy said.
Uber recruits local drivers willing to use their vehicles to provide ride-for-hire services to customers who summon and pay for rides through the smartphone app.
The issue is whether Uber and companies like it are required to meet the same licensing requirements as traditional ride-for-hire companies. In the Uber app's service agreement with customers, the company contends it is a technology company with an app and not a transportation service.
The company contends it only acts as an intermediary to link customers with transportation providers, even though Uber collects credit card information from customers that is kept on file and used to pay for rides. Uber retains a percentage of the fares.
Roger Andrews, manager of Oklahoma City's competing Yellow Cab Co., told commissioners Uber and its drivers should follow the same ordinances as everyone else.
“We've been operating for 50 or 60 years under the taxicab ordinances of Oklahoma City, and it's very simple — they're in violation,” Andrews said.
“If we start operating like they do next week, does that mean that we won't have to get permits and licenses anymore? We don't have to have our drivers drug-tested and do background checks and check their driving records and things like that? We want a level playing field, OK? And right now it's not even close.”
Andrews said police officers should start issuing tickets.
Joey Allen, the Oklahoma City general manager of a limousine service called Kings Worldwide Transportation, said he also thinks Uber drivers are violating city ordinances and should be ticketed.