TAXI TALK: Director B.J. Wyrick sounds sympathetic to Uber's case. Brian Chilson

The Little Rock Board of Directors again Tuesday night put off a full discussion of the Uber app-driven car service, perhaps until next week’s board agenda meeting.

But some comments gave some feel of how Board members are viewing the issue. It’s been noted that the city’s existing transportation ordinances currently prohibits the service here.


Ellis Houston, president of the firm that operates Yellow Cab, the only current taxi franchisee operating in Little Rock, presented packets of information to the Board, which Director B.J. Wyrick said appeared to be “mostly about Uber.” She said, “I think we need both of them here” to make a decision, that is Uber and Yellow Cab.

Uber apparently has suggested revisions in the code to allow its operation. Director Doris Wright had a problem with that.  “I think that sounds presumptuous for them to send us an ordinance about our city,” she said.


Director Lance Hines appeared interested in changing the code, however, if Wright is not. “There are some definite barriers to entry in this market,” he said, noting that the city had once had two cab companies but now only has Yellow Cab.

Houston wanted to speak to the Board on Tuesday, Uber or no Uber, but Mayor Mark Stodola wouldn’t permit it. He said the Board should hear both sides at once.
BTW: Uber is creating strange coalitions. It sprang from the generally liberal tech community. It enjoys warm support among Republicans for its attack on calcified government And now, David Plouffe, who managed Obama’s 2008 campaign, has joined the company to lead policy and strategy. They say he’ll bring a “campaign mindset” to the company as it faces regulation and taxi resistance.