On May 7, Austin voters voted down Proposition 1, which means that for now the City’s December 2015 ordinance requiring drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft to do fingerprint security checks – among other requirements – will remain in place.
Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) Uber and Lyft had said that that if a “no” vote prevailed they would cease operations in Austin, and both companies did indeed disable their apps for Austin customers on the Monday morning following the vote.
Since that May 7 vote, there has been a flurry of activity:
- Ride-hailing company GetMe, which relocated its headquarters to Austin several months ago, has said that it will comply with fingerprinting requirements and is still operating in Austin. The Austin Bergstrom International Airport also announced that it will partner with a new service, Wingz, that takes passengers to and from ABIA.
- The City worked with United Way for Greater Austin to put together a hotline to connect former Uber and Lyft drivers with similar work. Drivers can call United Way’s 211 number or 512-687-7441 to access the service.
- The Austin Transportation Department has also recommended that Austin’s regulations for TNCs and taxicabs be unified, reducing current regulations on the taxi industry. The City says it could help put more taxis on the streets.
There have also been rumblings about statewide legislative action that would impact the way TNCs are regulated. State Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) has said he plans to introduce a bill to create statewide standards that would overturn Austin’s ordinance.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler has said he hopes to continue talking with Uber and Lyft in order to reach a compromise. Jason Stanford, communications director for Adler’s office, says the office won’t currently comment on those potential talks, even to confirm or deny that they’re happening.
If you’re an Austinite who used Uber and Lyft and you’re searching for comparable options, there are a few services that can help you out. GetMe is the closest app right now to Uber and Lyft. The above-mentioned Wingz will get you to the airport, and claims to do so for less than a traditional taxi.
Capital Metro also offers Night Owl buses if getting home safely after a night out is your primary concern. The 481 Night Owl runs from 6th Street and Congress Ave. along Guadalupe Street to North Lamar Blvd. and Rundberg Ln. It starts just after midnight on weekdays and Saturdays, and runs every 20 minutes until 4:00 am.
The 483 Night Owl route has a similar schedule, but runs from 6thand Congress to Oltorf and Burton, with only two stops. There’s also the 484 Night Owl to South Lamar, 485 Night Owl to Cameron Ln., and 486 Night Owl to Pleasant Valley and William Cannon. All of them run from approximately midnight to 4:00 am.
You can also use an app to hail a taxicab – the Hailacab app will connect you with a Yellow Cab.
Image via Flickr