City and cab companies questioning legality of Uber taxi service

Cab companies and the city are questioning the legalities of the new cab service in town called Uber.

Uber is a company based in San Francisco, but their services have gone global.

The cab service is ordered through the Uber application on a smartphone. The rider must register for an account with Uber and enter their credit card information. Then they can pinpoint their location, order an available cab, then just get the money automatically taken from their account once the trip ends.

Uber drivers are normal residents using their own cars. They must present a driverâ??s license and insurance, and undergo an thorough background check before getting approved.

Local cab companies said they still undergo a more intricate process than Uber requires.

â??Theyâ??ve got to fill out an application, get a physical thatâ??s about 48 dollars. Get a background check, get fingerprinted. Then you get your pictures for that person to be able to drive and get approved,â?? Owner of Jack and Son Taxiâ??s Jerry Jewek .

According to current city ordinances in place for taxi services, the driver must keep a daily trip card with recorded drop offs and pick-ups. This list must then be furnished by the operator and approved by the chief of police.

Also, a taxicab will not receive a permit unless a full force insurance policy for each authorized vehicle is in place.

Uber does not require a taxi permit by the state, an issue cab companies said needs to be fixed immediately.

â??They should go by city ordinances, they should have to buy a city sticker. Even if they donâ??t want to label it like our, but where they have something and where the city has control as well,â?? Jewek said.

Jewek must also have commercial insurance, insurance required for a service picking up customers.

An employee from Alice Brooks Insurance Agency said anyone â??picking up and dropping of a person, and charging a fee must have commercial insurance in the state of Texasâ??

According to Uber Spokesperson Lauren Altmin, the company carries a ridesharing insurance policy. The driver would be covered by their own personal insurance while the app is off. Once turned on, the driver is covered by their own insurance along with contingent liability coverage. When the driver accepts a trip, he is covered with commercial insurance until the rider is dropped off at their location.

Altmin said since theyâ??ve opened in Amarillo, they have received a tremendous response. Residents Pronews 7 spoke with said they like the convenience and transparency of the app and cab ordering process.

Residents can see all the ordinances on cab companies and drivers on the cityâ??s government website.

They can also see Uberâ??s policies on their website.

The city declined to comment because they are discussing with city council members on the legality of Uber in the city.