DALLAS –– The head of technology and transportation company Uber is questioning why the city of Dallas automatically approved Yellow Cab’s operating permit after News 8 discovered its drivers were working without proper insurance.
Sheldon Klain, the city’s director of transportation regulation, reissued the permit for another year on Thursday. City code allows for Klain to challenge Yellow Cab President Jack Bewley’s permit.
Uber, which is currently arguing with the city that it does not need to be regulated as a transportation company, is accusing Dallas leaders of playing favorites. The technology company pairs users with drivers in luxury vehicles through a smartphone app.
“What the city is having a problem with is just being able to enforce everything they say they would like to enforce. Yellow has been around a long time, has a lot of relationships. Maybe they’ve been afforded some rights that other cab companies and Limo companies may not have had those same privileges,” said Leandre Johns, an Uber spokesman.
Since November, City Manager A.C. Gonzalez has never been available to speak about the city’s cozy relationship with Yellow. News 8 has another interview request with Gonzalez –– Klain’s boss –– for Tuesday, but he has not confirmed.
“You know, I appreciate it but unfortunately you’d have to go through the public information officer and then I’d be more than happy to talk to you,” Klain said today, after a meeting at City Hall.
The city’s media relations department has not made Klain available to speak about the city’s relationship with Yellow Cab. When asked about renewing the permit, Klain declined to answer.
“As you just said, the city won’t allow me to talk to you," he said. "Sorry I can’t, sir.”
City spokesman Frank Librio said only Gonzales is allowed to speak on decisions such as these.
"Sheldon Klain is a mid level manager. He is not the authority charged or authorized with taking any action," he said in an email. "The department director is charged with that in consultation with the City Manager."
Following that exchange, Gonzalez’ right hand man, Assistant City Manager Charles Cato said a meeting has been set with Gonzalez for Tuesday.