WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Wichita Falls City Council has passed a new ordinance allowing ride-sharing companies to operate in Wichita Falls. Tune in at noon for more details
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As Newschannel 6 reported earlier this month - an Oklahoma based rideshare company called Tride is looking to set up shop in Wichita Falls. Their goal was to be working by Hotter'N Hell weekend - but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.
Tride says they already have 60 registered drivers in the area and are ready to go. They say they are just waiting on the Wichita Falls City Council to approve an ordinance. They say they told the city they would comply with background checks and fingerprinting and were hoping the process could be fast-tracked. City officials say the time frame was so short it was unlikely Tride would be working here by Hotter'N Hell.
Tride representatives say they are disappointed they won't be able to work in the city for the event.
"Tride is disappointed - of course we're disappointed. We're trying to expand transportation services to the city of Wichita Falls."
In early August the Wichita Falls City Council had a discussion about rideshare coming to the city. Local taxi companies attended expressing their concerns about the issue and accusing Tride of trying to flood the market. City officials say they welcome a ridesharing company but only under certain conditions and that their first goal is to work with the taxi companies to make it a level playing field.
"Staff was instructed to not just bring a rideshare ordinance but to bring an amended taxi cab ordinance. So the council can look at both issues simultaneously. Although we do have a rideshare ordinance ready - we are currently in the middle of working on a revised taxi cab ordinance."
Once that's finished city officials say they'll bring both ordinances back to council. They are shooting for the first week in October. Tride representatives say they've experienced delays before.
"Right now we are speculating that the taxi companies have caused the hold up. We have gone through this with both Austin and Corpus Christi and it's a reflection of what we have had to deal with in the past with those two cities."
But city officials say it's really just a matter of due diligence.
"It's just a matter of having to rewrite an entire ordinance.You can't just do that in a week or two it really does require some thought to decide what's going to be fair for all parties."
They say relatively speaking it's going very quickly and Tride could be picking up passengers in the Falls in a little over a month.
"If the city passes both ordinances we have a 30 day wait period required by city charter. That means we'd be looking at an implementation of ordinances first week of November."
City officials say new business and new technology are great - that app based transportation will change how things work in Wichita Falls and that competition is great for everyone.
"In an interview with Newschannel 6 earlier this month Tride Rideshare co-owner, Blake Litton, said Tride is a more personal service and cheaper than a taxi. He also says it's not about stealing the market from the taxi cabs - it's about giving the people another option to save money and utilize an app.