Uber and Lyft Legal in Austin For Six Months
For the past five months, both Lyft and Uber have been operating illegally. Lyft began operating in Austin in May and Uber started in June. However, this will all change starting today.
The Austin City Council passed an ordinance legalizing operation of transportation network companies (TNC) like Uber and Lyft on Thursday. It passed on the third meeting 6-1, with Council Member Laura Morrison voting no. It passed after three separate meetings in October. The sponsor of the ordinance, Council Member Chris Riley, fast tracked the ordinance earlier this month to make TNC operations legal before the Austin City Limits Music Festival and the hugely popular Formula One race next month. This ordinance is only temporary and will be reviewed in six months.
TNCs will be required to perform a more rigorous background check on drivers that include an FBI fingerprint background check and a warrant check. The City Council also discussed insurance requirements, eventually voting yes to a compromise from Council Member Bill Spelman to emulate legislation from California. AB2293, passed by the California Legislature in September, called for the development of hybrid insurance policies specifically for TNC drivers to cover both personal and commercial use of a vehicle. The attempt to cap surge pricing by Council Member Kathie Tovo failed.
I think this is another step in the right direction for TNCs or rideshare companies in the United States. There have been many cities that have banned or make it illegal for rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber to operate. However, due to the strong financials of Lyft and Uber, they have been able to push through these obstacles and have paved the way to legalize these services across the US.
The legalization of Uber and Lyft couldn’t come at a better time. It was made legal before the large Austin City Limits Music Festival and will be operating during arugably Austin’s biggest event, the second running of the Formula One race in Austin. Last year’s running was the only Formula One race to take place in the US since 2007.Have more questions about Uber or Lyft? Head on over to our Rideshare Driver Training Course! Driver Promotions