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Uber satisfies Mayor Parker’s demands

OK then.

Uber

Tensions eased Friday in a dispute between Mayor Annise Parker and Uber, which partners with local drivers to coordinate paid rides via smartphone, after the company outlined plans to help drivers obey Houston’s for-hire vehicle rules.

Responding to Parker’s demand, Uber’s Texas-based general manager, Chris Nakutis, outlined steps the company is taking to ensure that drivers obtain a city-required permit.

“We receive many driver partner applications each week and so our compliance efforts are ongoing,” Nakutis wrote in a letter to Parker. “We will continue to identify and deactivate driver partners who attempt to operate in Houston without a TNC (transportation network company) license. This process has evolved from multiple checks per week to daily verification that driver partners without city licenses are not attempting to pick up riders in Houston.”

Parker said in a statement she was satisfied by the company’s response, subject to city verification.

“We want to close the door on unpermitted drivers,” the statement said. “I am pleased to see that Uber appears to have taken affirmative steps to end their willful non-compliance.”

[…]

“More than 500 (transportation network company) licenses were issued over the last couple of weeks – many of them to driver partners whose Uber account access was previously revoked due to not having completed the city’s licensing process,” Nakutis wrote.

The incident has led to increased enforcement of the rules, he said.

“If we find that a driver partner has accepted ride requests in Houston without a license from the city, we immediately revoke his or her ability to access the Uber platform,” Nakutis wrote. “In recent weeks, we ramped up our efforts by conducting a manual audit of driver partners on the platform and allocating additional time and resources to enforcement. We also held a series of in-person information sessions for driver partners to reiterate the city’s licensing requirements as well as the consequences for non-compliance.”

See here for the background. Some things just have to be done the hard way, I guess. The point was to get them to respect the rules, and this seems to have done it. For now, at least. We’ll see how long it lasts. Hair Balls has more.

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