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Martinez, Phelps spar over rideshare policies

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 by Michael Kanin

Mayoral candidate Mike Martinez sparred with a much lesser known opponent, Todd Phelps, Tuesday before members of the city’s hospitality industry as well as other downtown business people and residents. Phelps essentially accused Martinez of single-handedly preventing ridesharing services from operating in Austin. Martinez did not take that credit but said he believes that such services are not currently safe. Phelps argued that the companies, Uber and Lyft in particular, would police their own drivers and that the public would be safe. Sometime this fall, the city manager is expected to bring a proposal back to Council on how to deal with such services. Martinez said the companies had agreed to the plan but then backed out. Their remarks were part of a forum Tuesday by the Austin Hotel & Lodging Association, the Austin Restaurant Association and the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association. How to deal with Austin’s transportation problems was just one of eight questions posed to candidates Sheryl Cole, Steve Adler, Martinez and Phelps by James Walsh, president of the lodging association.

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