New Texas Rideshare Law a Victory for Uber and Lyft – Courthouse News Service


AUSTIN, Texas (CN) — Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into regulation Monday a invoice that usurps native rideshare laws, permitting Uber and Lyft to return to Austin and different Texas cities that they had exited.

“Today I signed a law to overturn the City of Austin’s regulation that trampled freedom & free enterprise,” Abbott tweeted when he signed House Bill 100 on Monday.

HB 100 provides the state the facility to manage rideshare corporations, additionally referred to as transportation community corporations, or TNCs. The invoice calls for an occupational allow and additionally authorizes an annual charge.

The key textual content of the invoice says: “[T]he regulation of transportation network companies, drivers logged in to a digital network, and vehicles used to provide digitally prearranged rides: (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.”

The invoice requires a TNC like Uber and Lyft to conduct annual felony background checks on its drivers, nevertheless it doesn’t have a fingerprint requirement that Austin mandated.

The regulation took impact instantly upon Abbott’s signing, which means Uber and Lyft might reboot their operations in Austin on Memorial Day.

Uber stated in a assertion: “We’re sorry, Austin—for leaving the way we did; for letting an honest disagreement about regulations and consumer choice turn into a public fight; and most of all, for not being able to serve you for the last year. It was never our intention, but we let down drivers, riders, and the broader Austin community. We’ve spent the last year listening carefully and learning from the mistakes we made. While we can’t change how we got here, we can and will commit to getting it right this time around.”
On Monday, Lyft despatched emails to clients saying it was as soon as once more working in Austin.

“Lyft is back in Austin. Reliable, affordable rides have returned to Austin. Whether you’re headed to Zilker Park, Rainey Street, or the airport, we’ve got your ride,” the message stated.

Both Uber and Lyft left Austin a yr in the past over a dispute centered on the town’s obligatory fingerprint-based mostly background checks. Uber and Lyft claimed Austin’s background checks have been no higher than their very own identify-based mostly background checks for drivers.

Austin voters rejected an ordinance, referred to as Proposition 1, which might have repealed the town’s TNC laws. The ordinance failed regardless of hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by Ridesharing Works for Austin, a political motion committee funded by Uber and Lyft in help of Prop 1.

The departures of Uber and Lyft led to a plethora of latest rideshare corporations working in Austin. These TNCs agreed to implement the town’s fingerprint requirement for drivers. ExperienceAustin, a native nonprofit TNC, offered 2 million journeys in its first yr of operation.

JourneyAustin by no means took problem with the town’s fingerprint necessities. “We’ve always put the safety of our riders at the top of priorities, every driver is finger print verified,” the corporate stated in a tweet.

In a assertion concerning the return of Uber and Lyft, the Austin Transportation Department stated, “Transportation Network Companies have always been welcome in Austin so long as they follow the laws applicable to their operation. The Transportation Department’s focus has always been to do our best to ensure safe transportation options for the Austin community and we will continue to concentrate on that mission.”

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