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City Tells Ride-Sharing App to Cease and Desist

courtesy Heyride

Heyride is a smartphone app that lets people find and offer rides to strangers for money. If that sounds kind of like a taxi service to you, the City of Austin agrees.

Last month, the city sent a cease and desist order to the Austin-based startup.

The city regulates for-hire transportation, doing criminal background checks on drivers and making sure vehicles are safe. But Heyride drivers aren’t going through that permitting and inspection process.

“What the city is saying is that this company is not following the city’s safety procedures that are in place, and the public should be aware of that,” said Karla Villalon, with the city's transportation department.

But Heyride CEO Josh Huck says the city doesn’t quite understand what his company does.

“We’re not an amateur cab service, we’re not trying to be a professional cab service," said Huck. "We are on-demand carpooling."

Huck says he wants to meet with the city to explain the service.

In the meantime, the city says people who get paid for offering rides through Heyride could be charged with a class C misdemeanor.

Matt Largey is the Projects Editor at KUT. That means doing a little bit of everything: editing reporters, producing podcasts, reporting, training, producing live events and always being on the lookout for things that make his ears perk up. Got a tip? Email him at mlargey@kut.org. Follow him on Twitter @mattlargey.