ride-hailing

Austin Price / KUT

The return of Uber and Lyft to Austin has put the city’s only ride-hailing nonprofit in a fight for survival.

RideAustin, one of several small companies that started operations in Austin after the ride-hailing giants left the city in May 2016, is now seeing its ridership cut in half since the two returned to town. The company is slashing expenses and cutting staff, said CEO Andy Tryba.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Phoenix-based Fare announced Tuesday that it’s leaving Austin due to a “recent loss of business.”

The ride-hailing company was one of several that set up in Austin last year after voters approved regulations for fingerprint-based background checks, prompting competitors Uber and Lyft to leave.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

At the start of the Texas legislative session, you might have characterized the number of bills reversing City of Austin regulations as an onslaught. There were bills to undo the city’s "ban the box" rule, its plastic bag ban, the city’s ride-hailing regulations.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Gov. Greg Abbott this morning signed House Bill 100, which establishes statewide ride-hailing regulations in Texas and preempts city regulations that drove out Uber and Lyft last year.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft have announced they will be returning to Austin on Memorial Day, most likely under a new state law. House Bill 100, which the governor is expected to sign, preempts local ride-hailing regulations, putting the state in charge of overseeing these companies.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Aubrey McIntosh sauntered out of an office on East Seventh Street, a new pink moustache in hand.

“I would hate to not be able to drive,” said McIntosh, a retired chemistry professor who had just reactivated his Lyft driver account at the company’s local office.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Texas Senators have approved a bill that creates statewide regulations for ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft. House Bill 100 would preempt regulations on the so-called transportation network companies in cities like Austin. The Senate passed the bill on a 21-9 vote.

KUT

U.S. Department of Justice officials talked to city staff last week about including Austin in a criminal investigation of Uber.   

Ståle Grut / Flickr

Five days after a controversial amendment defining "sex" as "the physical condition of being male or female" was added to a statewide ride-hailing bill, representatives from Uber and Lyft called the addition disappointing and unnecessary — though both companies stopped short of saying they'd withdraw their support. 

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

After a lengthy debate among lawmakers over the best way to regulate services like Uber and Lyft, the Texas House backed a proposal that would override local regulations concerning ride-hailing companies.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

FORT WORTH — Gov. Greg Abbott raised many eyebrows last week when he threw his support behind a "broad-based law" that pre-empts local regulations, a remark that did anything but calm the already contentious local control battles at the Texas Capitol. 

Texas Transportation Institute

Researchers from the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute want to know more about Austinites' experiences with ride-hailing companies before and after Uber and Lyft left town.

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

Over the summer, the Austin City Council took a hard stance on criminal background checks for taxi drivers, eventually expanding them from a statewide check to a national one. But last week, council members reversed course on that decision.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. /KUT News

At least two state lawmakers filed bills Monday that would strip Texas cities of their power to regulate ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft.

Courtesy of Chariot

A year-old partnership between the City of Austin and the Rocky Mountain Institute has yielded its first results: the Austin expansion of a ridesharing app called Chariot. The service works like a shuttle, with passenger-chosen routes. The first shuttle routes from Chariot will run between the downtown MetroRail stop and Whole Foods and ad agency GSD&M with fares of about $4 per person. More routes will be added as they are voted on through the Chariot app. 


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT News

Standing atop the same stage where men and women perform bawdy pranks as part of adult entertainment-themed Bingo every Tuesday at the Alamo Drafthouse’s Highball, local tech leader Joe Liemandt added another ride-hailing company to the list of those scrambling to fill the roads in the absence of Uber and Lyft.

This one is called RideAustin, and it’s a bit different than the others.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT News

From the Austin Monitor: City leaders traded accusations of dishonesty over ride-hailing regulations at a meeting Tuesday as they grappled with potential solutions to the transportation void created by the recent departure of Uber and Lyft.

The debate was prompted by a resolution proposed by Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo that directs city staff to explore a number of means of helping other ride-hailing companies and taxi services in the city prosper, including city loans or technical assistance.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT News

Former full-time Uber and Lyft driver Kurt Wagenman showed up to Austin’s first transportation network company (TNC) driver fair on Tuesday with a misleading email in his inbox.


Shelby Knowles/Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday the fight is not finished when it comes to regulations in Austin that have driven ride-hailing companies out of the state capital. 

"The issue's not over," Abbott said in an interview on CNBC. "Republicans in the Texas Legislature have already raised proposals coming up in the next session to override the Austin vote." 

Austin is facing its first weekend in more than two years without Uber or Lyft. Both companies pulled out Monday to protest voter rejection of Proposition 1, which would have eliminated mandatory fingerprint-based background checks.

Opponents of Prop 1 responded to Uber and Lyft’s threat to leave by arguing that if there is money to be made on ride-hailing in Austin, other companies will replace them. The city’s taxis are not able to meet demand during peak hours and special events, according to one study, but anyone who’s tried to call a cab on a Saturday night prior to the arrival of Uber and Lyft could tell you that.

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