Council moves closer to legalizing TNCs

We continue to watch with interest as Austin City Council debates the future of transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft. These companies have been operating in Austin since the spring, but the City of Austin has yet to issue an ordinance to legalize and regulate these services. On October 2, the Council passed the second reading of a resolution sponsored by Councilmember Chris Riley. Amendments to the resolution included a cap on “dynamic pricing,” an issue which was highly visible during the recent Austin City Limits Festival (ACL). Screen shot 2014-10-13 at 11.15.24 AM

TNCs set prices in real-time based on demand for their services. During times of peak demand, such as the end of ACL’s last musical act on a Friday night, prices for Uber and Lyft might double or even triple. The amendment to the Council resolution set a maximum 2.5 increase in this surge pricing.

The resolution is back on the Council agenda for October 16 with a possibility of more amendments, and may be finally approved in its third reading at that time. If approved, the City will work with TNCs to enact these temporary regulations regarding insurance, accessibility, and pricing, among other things.

 

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