Eco-friendly 'shuttle' is costing owner some green - Houston Chroncile. Maribel Imamovic, a regulatory investigator for Houston, cites Ibarra July 13 for operating without a taxi permit or taxi meter. The city says Rev Houston is an outlaw company.

Warning About Discounted, Illegal and Unaccountable Operators:

Unlicensed operators and companies that do not operate legally in the City of Houston often provide discounted below market rates to distract and entice customers to use their services.  

Lately the use of apps to place immediate trip requets have flooded the market.  Uber and Lyft were operating for several months in 2014 in blatant violation of City of Houston ordinances despite the City's warning and orders to stop.  On Wednesday August 5, 2014 the Houston City Council voted 10 to 5 to allow Uber and Lyft to operate in the city by restructuring the City's transportation ordinances.

The Houston Airport System (HAS) has their own set of regulations for who can and cannot legally pickup at the Houston Airports.  Uber drivers and vehicles who are properly licensed with the city are now able to pickup at George Bush Intercontinential (IAH) airport or William P. Hobby (HOU) airport.  There still are illegal operators skirting the rules but many have complied.  When illegal drivers and vehicles are observed by regulators they are ticketed for operating illegally.

The transportation market in Houston is now flooded with options and the lower cost alternatives seem attractive but may be leading impulsive customers to the less desireable and less proven transportation options.  In their push into the Houston area market Uber has promoted now several different App options and pricing rates and each can change at high peak demand times.  Especially at the beginning when they came in the Houston market Uber and Lyft were using lower rates to disrupt the market illegaly.  These rates did not reflect the real market costs compared to taxi and limousine rates.  These companies were pushing into the market with the lure of temporary attractive pricing and appeal.  Lyft has now left the Houston market as the price to get their drivers into compliance was too costly.  Uber has remained and has now introduced further options on app versions and pricing.  On peak times some customers have been charged even as much as five times (5x) the standard rates such as New Years Eve and when demand out strips their available units.

 

Uber Drivers With Warrants and Criminal Activity

There have been incidents of Uber drivers with criminal warrants identified that were not found in their background checks.  There have been sting operations conducted that found Uber drivers picking up trips from customers flagging them down.  There have been other criminal activites commited by Uber drivers.  You can do your own search for what currently is found on the internet regarding recent criminal activitity for Uber drivers in Houston to discover what is going on now. 

 

App Based Transportation:

The app based transportation trend - calling a car using an app based on gps showing drivers who are nearby and available is connecting with younger impulsive, impatient and tech friendly customers.  Many customers are not concerning themselves with who they ride with and seem to be appreciating avoiding the efforts to schedule or commit to anything in advance.  They generally expect nice cars at super fast response times at lower rates.  This trend seems to match an impulsive lack of planning and reactionary lifestyle or momentary situation.  This is the area that on demand taxi service dealt with.  To get a nicer car and driver you needed to plan ahead and schedule - that used to be the trend.  It seems we are on the beginning of a slippery slope where speed and the ease of use with apps for requesting service seems to trump thought, planning and diligence.  Often customers who use these apps mention how easy it is, how fast it was, and the car.  It almost seems irrelevant to them or a late coming thought about the quality of the driver or their training or safety.  They seem to assume or believe they are getting better quality product at the same moment they are also much less engaged in the reservation and selection process.  It seems as if they are prefering to set aside their qualifications to believe blindly in the apps ability and quality for helping them select a better option.  Tech seems to be trumping thought for many selecting their services.  Limo and taxi business has declined as App based dispatching (Uber) has increased.  The market has shifted, but the effects on the machines and drivers that Uber does not support or maintain has not been felt yet.

 

Who Are The App Based Drivers?  

Will Their Vehicles Hold Up? 

Are They Actually Making More Money?

Many of the drivers operating through Uber are existing limo and taxi drivers who have now put on a suit and obtained access to another better vehicle.  As these nicer vehicles are driven in the mode of an impulsive on demand taxis it will be interesting to see how long their quality holds up as they vehicles experience the inevitable increased wear and tear that is the ultimate level of wear in the taxi business.  Lots of on demand service for short trips with lots of passenger turn over mean lots of wear and tear versus longer planned trips.

The customer base calling on the app based on demand providers seems to be what used to be the taxi base.  The taxi business has taken a hit in customer levels dropping.  It will be interesting to see if the same taxi customers that wore out the standard taxis now wear out the luxury cars just as fast.  Many of the drivers don't like the taxi business now moving to their nicer cars and their take home at the end of the day seemingly dropping not increasing.  Gratuity is no longer added in for their trips and now the app provider instead takes their cut before the driver is paid, but their vehicles and dress standards costs just went up.  This is not looking good for some of the drivers who are trapped working with the apps or returning to the standard taxi business with less customer calls coming in.

There are also many untrained part time drivers who just poured into the industry to try and pick up some extra personal income using their personal vehicle and these apps.  The app lower level pricing many qualify for is less than the taxi rate.  They may ultimately be unprepared for the extra mileage and wear and tear on their vehicles for so little precieved gains.  What happens when the prudent maintenance issues begin to emerge.  Will these drivers do what they should to maintain their vehicles or will they mask the issues and keep driving more customers?  There are also always operators we used to call "Gypsies" in the industry who operate with unlicensed drivers and cars.  Beware of these operators as you may be putting yourself and your family in real financial jeopardy by using an illegal / unlicensed transportation provider that is receiving compensation.  Their personal insurance will not cover a business related accident whether it is legal or illegaly operating.  the last thing you need to find out is the $20 you saved led you to an uninsured situation who had an accident and now there is no insurance protection that applies for your injuries.

  

Guard your personal safety and identify information and use only proven legal operators. 

Our drivers are full time qualified and background checked professionals and not moonlighting drivers in their own private vehicles. 

Some taxis and limos operating especially in the edges of the city in Sugar Land and Katy for example are actually unlicensed illegal transportation operators in Houston.  Their vehicles are sometimes even marked with magnetic signs or logos that can be removed quickly when coming into the airports.  There are even entire companies and individuals based just outside the city limits that are not licensed in the City of Houston, yet operate illegally coming in and out of the city picking up almost daily.  These are not licensed in Houston and it is illegal for them to pickup in the City of Houston, but they do so without penalty with so little regulatory presence to stop them.  Even without Uber or Lyft there were already rougue companies and operators encroaching on business for the legal operators who pay and comply with the regulations. 

These rougue companies operate illegally in Houston locating themselves often just outside the city limits to avoid all the regulations that the City of Houston requires, yet they still operate functionally outside and inside the city while discounting their rates, confusing customers on what the rates actually are, while putting their customers at higher risk due to lack insurance and regulations.  They cannot pickup legally in Houston, but they do so without penalty usually due to the lack of regulatory inspectors.  They cannot pickup at the airports, rodeo or ports without risking getting a citation from a regulatory agent.  However, many still try to operate there illegally and use communication with other drivers to avoid the inspectors as much as possible.  Some rougue companies tell their customers they just are not available then when asked for a reservation for an airport pickup.  The truth is they are never available for pickup there because the inspectors frequently check at these locations.  Those that do try to pickup there use evasive tactics to try and pickup customers standing by for them in locations other than the proper pickup zones to try and avoid detection and a citation by a city inspector.

We can pickup at Both City of Houston Airports.  If another provider is never available for your pickups at the airports it may be because they are operating illegally and prefer not to disclose that to you.  

We use only full-time licensed dedicated drivers in approved city licensed legal vehicles who meet all of the City of Houston transportation requirements to operate

Your personal safety and your personal information are all safe with the drivers we use.