IAS CEO, Larry Cochran, Featured In San Antonio Express-News On Local Ride Sharing Concept

June 27, 2014

If you’ve ever had to use the taxi service in our city, you are all too familiar with how imperfect the system is.

Whether you have to endure the wrath of a driver for a short ride or are left waiting for a taxi that never comes, it’s clear that we have a transportation problem that shouldn’t be an issue in the seventh-largest city in the nation. Why, then, is the ride-sharing concept, a solution that has been dropped in our laps without a dime requested from our taxpayers, being eschewed and punished?

While our city leaders actively try to attract coveted high-tech firms or large manufacturing businesses with sizeable payrolls to dole out to our residents, they must also realize that our lacking private transportation system is a serious hurdle for growth. We know what these companies are looking for — the benefits of a large, progressive metropolitan area that will nurture all aspects of their collective stakeholders, including a good public transit system to transport high-earning professionals and support staff around the city.

Additionally, we have all been touched by the tragedies that involve drinking and driving. Our city has one of the worst records in the nation, despite also having one of the most aggressive law enforcement programs aimed squarely at the problem. We also see it in the news as we watch everyone from our police chief to district attorney in a constant chorus warning us of the dangers and ultimate costs to be paid for those that don’t heed the warnings and the law.

In summary, our public transportation system is inadequate for the size of our city. Second, we have an obvious drinking and driving issue. Third, the availability of taxis is insufficient. Here’s where the hypocrisy is. We have a solution, but instead of working to make this a safe, affordable and reliable service, we hold a press conference to tell people to avoid using these services.

Furthermore, when residents see the benefit and continue to use the ride-sharing services, our police chief activates a task force of undercover cops so they can start impounding their cars.

Forget that we might be able to transform our city by people moving about freely and inexpensively enjoying uncharted areas of our city to experience new food and entertainment options. Forget that we could arrive at the airport with fresh anticipation of being greeted by an almost-certain friendly face in a nice car ready to treat us like a VIP without the wait at the taxi stand.

Let’s just focus on one opportunity: that we can possibly reduce and mitigate alcohol-related car accidents in San Antonio. Let’s just focus on that dream, San Antonio. How much is that worth? How much are the lives that have needlessly been taken from our city streets worth?

What do we think is safer relative to cost: a background-verified safe driver in a registered vehicle taking us from place to place, or giving up on a nonexistent taxi and driving when we shouldn’t?

I think there’s good reason a lot of smart money is chasing Uber at an $18 billion value. Count me in.