taxis

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.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

At Black Star Co-op in North Austin, workers take food and drink orders, doling out burgers and beers on a recent weekday. Ask who owns the place, and the response might confound you: the members, or a select number of customers.


KUT News

The Austin Transportation Department will consider untangling the city’s franchise model of taxi companies in an attempt to “address equity” between for-hire drivers in the city. The news comes after the failure of Proposition 1 on Saturday and the exit of ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft two days later.

The proposed changes would usher in an open market system for cabs, bringing them more in line with the way ride-hailing companies operate in the city. Historically the city has capped the number of cabs in the city – keeping that number of operating vehicles at just over 900.

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

For once, rules batted around on the dais did not concern Uber and Lyft drivers.

Austin City Council members Thursday approved nationwide criminal background checks for would-be chauffeur permit holders – those authorized to drive taxicabs, pedicabs, limos or city charter buses. It’s another step in what has been a lengthy attempt to align the regulations that govern cab drivers and ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft.


To see the speed of technological innovation, look no further than a street corner. Hailing a cab from the street is less common in cities with Uber, a service that lets you request a ride with the simple tap of a mobile phone app.

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