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City commissioners discuss Lyft

BROWNSVILLE, Texas - Brownsville City Commissioners went back and forth in discussion during Tuesday’s City Commission meeting on whether or not to pass a resolution that supports Lyft services.

District 3 Commissioner Deborah Portillo said Josh Mejia, Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation’s outreach coordinator, researched as to why Lyft services were being offered in South Texas locations instead of Brownsville.

Mejia discovered that no city ordinances prohibited Lyft from coming to Brownsville. Commissioners Portillo and Jessica Tetreau, with the collaboration of Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation and the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation, talked to Lyft officials to bring the company’s services to the city.

Resolution 2017-025 was created to show “the City of Brownsville fully supports innovative transportation options, including Transportation Network Companies (TNC) – also known as rideshare companies, for and within our city.”

“We are in no way by this resolution not supporting our local taxi cab companies,” Portillo said. “We just want there to be a way to have both (services) in our city. This resolution is a common practice for all cities that have welcomed Lyft into their city.”

Tetreau said she and Portillo have met with Lyft officials to negotiate “safe spots” for taxi cabs, meaning areas where Lyft drivers cannot provide service.

“Immediately there were these questions about cab drivers and how it would affect them, and so one of the things Commissioner Portillo and myself really wanted to do was negotiate with them to make sure that cab drivers would have their safe spots and their guaranteed spots where Lyft would not be serving, like the airport and things like that.”

District 1 Commissioner Ricardo Longoria questioned whether BCIC read any ordinances regarding taxi drivers. He said since his father was the owner of Longoria’s Taxi, he is familiar with ordinances that prevent taxi drivers from soliciting at bars and other matters.

“If this is going to come to be, I would respectfully ask that this go through a public hearing, not through an action item, because we need to hear from our Chief of Police (Orlando Rodriguez), we need to hear from the local cab companies, we need to hear it not just in a private meeting,” Longoria said. “A private meeting was held by (Tetreau and Portillo) with (BCIC and GBIC along with) Lyft. We need to hear from the people that are generally affected by it.”

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Source: The Brownsville Herald

Photography: Copyright Lyft

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