DALLAS -- In November, prompted by a News 8 investigation, Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez warned the city council that Yellow Cab did not meet insurance requirements and could be jeopardizing public safety.
Newly-obtained documents show three days later, his staffers renewed the licenses of two Yellow-owned cab companies, even though they did not meet the city’s own public-safety standards.
News 8's David Schechter sat down with Gonzalez for an in-depth interview.
“How could you automatically approve a cab company knowing that they don’t have the insurance? You knew that, at the time,” Schechter asked Gonzalez, as he showed him the renewal documents.
“I’m not familiar with this,” Gonzalez answered.
After learning from News 8 that Yellow failed the city’s insurance safety standards for more than a decade, Gonzalez did get Yellow to comply within 30 days. Beyond that, he’s taken no action against Yellow Cab and none is planned.
“So immediate action was taken with regards to getting them into compliance,” Gonzalez said.
“But there’s been no deterrent. You’ve sent no message that this is not acceptable. 'We’re punishing you so everyone else out there can realize that they can’t do that in the city of Dallas,'" Schechter said. "You’ve done nothing like that."
“We got them in compliance,” Gonzalez replied.
“You haven’t punished them in any way or deterred anyone from taking that behavior, have you?” Schechter pushed.
“Well, I’m not sure. They were in compliance,” the city manger said.
Gonzalez and Dallas have history with Yellow Cab and its president, Jack Bewley.
- In August, Gonzalez allowed Yellow Cab to draft city rules designed to shut out Yellow’s new competitor, Uber, from the Dallas market.
- In September, the city attempted to prosecute Uber drivers for breaking city rules.
- In November, alerted by News 8, Gonzalez warned the council Yellow didn’t have the required insurance.
- Then, three days later (as we’ve now learned), the city approved Yellow permits, even without the insurance.
- Last week, we reported allegations from city staffers and a Yellow driver that Yellow was charging drivers for insurance coverage but not providing insurance.
“How can you essentially be working with a company that’s alleged to act like that?” Schechter asked Gonzalez.
“Well, we are getting them in compliance,” Gonzalez said.
“But that would mean that you approve of them having done that,” Schechter said.
“No. I’m not approving that behavior. I’m changing the behavior,” Gonzalez said.
“I think it’s fair for people to ask if Jack Bewley and Yellow Cab are the ones making the decisions and running that Transportation Regulation Department," Schechter said. "Are they in charge or are you in charge?”
“I would see that much differently,” Gonzalez said. “The actions that I’ve taken with regards to not only Yellow Cab and any of the other companies have been has been to try to get each one of those companies in compliance with city ordinances, as soon as possible."
But after a decade of breaking the rules, is that enough?