Report: Dallas cab company prodded city to probe rival

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by MARIE SAAVEDRA

Bio | Email | Follow: @MSaavedraTV

WFAA

Posted on October 23, 2013 at 10:12 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 23 at 10:57 PM

DALLAS — On the streets of Dallas, competition for ferrying people around is fierce.

Uber rolled into town with fanfare, offering riders a smartphone app to request a ride in a rented car near you.

It received a less than warm welcome from Yellow Cab, which considers Uber a threat to its business in Dallas-Fort Worth.

And now, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings' report on the issue shows how hard Yellow Cab company fought to shut Uber down.

It started with a July e-mail message from Yellow Cab's attorney John Barr addressed to the interim Dallas City Manager, A.C. Gonzalez and assistant City Manager Joey Zapata.

"I'm getting very angry at the Uber intrusion and your department's lack of protection... Come on, get DPD to write tickets to Uber or stop charging permits to the cab companies," Barr wrote.

A few months later, they did.

The Dallas Police Department vice squad was called in to investigate the service — even going so far as to consider trying to become a driver and rent a black Lincoln Town Car.

That plan didn't work, but officers did hand out 61 citations to 31 Uber drivers.

The mayor's investigation states that a number of those citations were based on information gathered by private investigators working on behalf of Yellow Cab.

Attorney Joel Reese represents 29 of the 31 Uber drivers who were cited. “Yellow Cab shouldn't have that level of influence at the city, and they shouldn't influence the prosecution of private individuals, and that's what happened,” he said.

As a result of the report, the Dallas city attorney's office said all 61 citations will be dropped.

And as for Yellow Cab's interaction with city leaders on the Uber issue? Mayor Rawlings found nothing wrong.

“I did not hear of or discover any potential illegal or unethical activity that I believe should be investigated further," the mayor said.

E-mail msaavedra@wfaa.com

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