What happens when Uber and Lyft Come back to Austin?

What happens when Uber and Lyft Come back to Austin?

It looks like the Texas Legislature is going to pass HB 100, which states that regulating Transportation Network Companies (i.e. Uber, Lyft, etc.) is:

(1) is an exclusive power and function of this state; and

(2) may not be regulated by a municipality or other local entity, including by: (A) imposing a tax; (B) requiring an additional license or permit; (C) setting rates; (D) imposing operational or entry requirements; or (E) imposing other requirements.

In other words, the City of Austin can not regulate TNCs – only the state can.

And while, the regulation does require that drivers must submit to a local, state, and national criminal background check to drive, with certain stated disqualifying factors, it does not (in contrast to the city of Austin Rules)

  • require a fingerprint background check
  • have data reporting requirements such as number of trips provided in an area
  • have limitations on number of hours driven
  • require participation in a government administered safety program, with noncompliance penalty of 1% of revenue
  • require a 1% tax, instead just charging a tax for the “cost to administer” the state regulation program.
  • require accessibility compliance 6 months from implementation of the rule

however the rule does (among other things):

  • require pilot programs to offer handicap accessible services, but allows for the TNCs to farm this service out to other providers
  • codify that drivers are independent contractors

While the above is not a complete listing of the provisions of each bill, I think its safe to say this is a less taxing and stringent framework for the TNCs, which comes with good and bad consequences.  I encourage you to read the bill and compare it to Austin’s rule.
Also, I am very much concerned that the ecosystem of Ridesourcing that has grown up in Austin (companies such as RideAustin, Fasten and Fare) in the wake of a market devoid of Uber and Lyft will suddenly come under massive pressure.  Uber has shown that they will cut prices to take market share and I believe this is a likely occurrence upon their reentry to the Austin market.  It is in their best business interest to wipe out all the smaller local competitors – but is that in the best interests of the City of Austin?

thanks to https://facesplacesandthings.wordpress.com/tag/texas-capital/ for the great shot of the capital!