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Restraining order revives bus battle in Hidalgo

City Councilman Rudy Franz owns a rival bus company called STS! Transportation.

Hidalgo TMs bus controversy is back.

A bus company called S 2 N Transport obtained a temporary restraining order against the City of Hidalgo on Thursday after police ticketed the company TMs drivers 26 times in two days.

On the first day, it was 14, said attorney Jerad Najvar, who represents S to N Transport. Yesterday, before we could get the order signed to restrain them, they issued another 12.

The City of Hidalgo didn TMt respond to requests for comment about the lawsuit and resulting temporary restraining order.

S 2 N Transport and Hidalgo have a history.

For years, S 2 N Transport owner Juan Muoz wanted to pick up passengers at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge. After voting down S 2 N Transport TMs application several times, City Council finally approved a bus permit for S 2 N Transport in September 2013.

City Councilman Rudy Franz " who owns a rival bus company called STS! Transportation " immediately filed a lawsuit against two fellow councilmen who voted for the permit. The lawsuit blocked S 2 N Transport from serving the Hidalgo-Reynosa bridge for months.

S 2 N Transport and the two councilmen eventually prevailed, and the company started picking up passengers at the international bridge.

The City Council, though, amended Hidalgo TMs vehicle-for-hire ordinance during December.

Under the ordinance, both S 2 N Transport and STS! Transportation must have a local office within walking distance of the international bridge with seating for 30 passengers.

STS! Transportation owns an office that meets the requirements. Franz said he started leasing the office in February. S 2 N Transport, though, doesn TMt have a local office.

"The ordinance is completely irrational, Najvar said.

Franz said S 2 N Transport wasn TMt the only company ticketed for not complying with other aspects of the ordinance.

"Two of my drivers got tickets, Franz said. I told my other drivers to leave the area and go to their designated areas (where) they are supposed to be and I didn TMt get any more tickets.

City officials have fairly applied the ordinance, Franz said.

I don TMt see me not getting tickets, Franz said. I don TMt see me not having to pay for an office.

S to N Transport obtained the temporary restraining order against Hidalgo on Thursday, when the company filed a lawsuit alleging the specific space and other requirements written into the ordinance conveniently meet the specifications of a pre-existing office space on South Bridge Street leased by Franz for STS.

I offered the competition to share my office for free while they got an office, Franz said. They chose not to.

Najvar said Franz wanted to charge S to N Transport $2,600 a month for the space.

Despite their differences, both bus company owners said they think competition is healthy for Hidalgo.

The ultimate issue is you have a city on the border that is able to try to win back a monopoly for its own councilmember and harm the riders, Najvar said. That TMs wrong and we TMre going to fight it in court.

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