DALLAS (CN) - Uber and Lyft fired back at Dallas cab drivers who challenged their right to operate at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, saying the cabbies have no property right in airport permits.
Uber filed its answer in Dallas County Court on Nov. 30, and Lyft did so on Nov. 25. Both ride-sharing services claim the Association of Taxicab Operators USA lack subject-matter jurisdiction to sue them.
The cabbies sued them and the airport board on Aug. 7, challenging a new policy that allows any vehicle allowed to operate in Dallas or Fort Worth to operate at the airport.
The old policy required operators to get airport-issued permits that were limited in number.
Uber, represented by J. Brian Vanderwoude with Winstead PC in Dallas, said the cabbies' claims fail because they do not "have any vested property interest right" in any of the airport's permits.
"The taxicab permitting rules issued by the airport board do not create property rights," Uber's 5-page answer states. "Some or all of plaintiff's claims fail because plaintiff lacks authority to challenge the airport board's changes to its ground transportation rules. Moreover, plaintiff has not asserted that the airport board's actions in amending the rules were arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable. Nor has plaintiff alleged that the new rules violate any state or local law."
Lyft's attorney, Danny David with Baker Botts in Houston, said the cabbies lack the authority to challenge the policy change even if it results in increased competition for them.
The cabbies claim the policy will cause a "feeding frenzy" and puts them at a competitive disadvantage because they charge a city-mandated $45 flat fee for rides to the airport while Uber and Lyft charge about half as much.
"The number of taxicab drivers that will be fighting each other for customers without the maintenance of the permitting status quo is unknown, but estimates are that the number of drivers seeking to obtain airport customers could double or triple," the complaint stated.
The cabbies also claim the policy endangers the public, citing a sexual assault in Dallas this year allegedly committed by an Uber driver.
Unlike Uber and Lyft, the cabbies say, they must meet safety requirements to get an airport permit, including car inspections and background checks.
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