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HB 100 passage could signal return of Uber and Lyft to Austin

(Photo Shutterstock/By Kaspars Grinvalds)

 

Could Uber and Lyft return to Austin now that statewide ridesharing rules are coming? Some are thinking yes, and sooner rather than later.

A bill passes the house and former Austin Councilmember Don Zimmerman, who fought against Austin's own ridesharing regulations says the legislature is sending a strong message with Democrats and Republicans in the House supporting the state regulatory framework. "The City of Austin is way out of line and out of step with the State of Texas, even from a bi-partisan point of view." Zimmerman says the TNC regulations the House approved had bi-partisan support despite opposition from Austin lawmakers.

The Texas House passes new statewide regulations for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft that would supersede any local rules such as the city of Austin has. Those rules requiring fingerprinting drivers are what drove Uber and Lyft to leave the market. Zimmerman supported Uber and Lyft's during the controversy and is hopeful for the future. "We're going to have Uber and Lyft back in Austin in 2017.  That's my prediction." Zimmerman says the House version is similar to what regulations were like before the city stepped in requiring fingerprint background checks.

 Zimmerman along with Councilmember Ellen Troxclair fought against the fingerprint regulations the city imposes on TNC drivers. Those rules prompted the two ridesharing giants to leave the market. Zimmerman and Troxclair both testified to the House Committee for statewide regulations, which were approved yesterday. Zimmerman says the Senate takes it up next. "I predict there will be another two-thirds vote by the Texas Senate. The governor will sign it into law and we may have them back by the middle of this year."

 

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