AUSTIN (KXAN) – Austin’s city council will vote this week to approve an agreement with ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, making their operation in the city legal.
The rideshare, or transportation network companies, that use apps to link people looking for a ride with drivers who accept money to drive them, began operating under a pilot program with the city. Many drivers who were accepting compensation over the federally determined $.56/mile were technically operating illegally and police were citing drivers.
According to the agreement proposed by the city manager’s office, the companies must:
- Run yearly criminal and driver background checks on drivers and prevent anyone convicted of DWI within seven years of driving or other felonies. Plus ban drivers with more than three moving violations or driving without insurance.
- Provide commercial automobile minimum liability insurance of $1 million beginning when the driver accepts a trip request until the rider gets out of the car.
- The company must pay a $.10 surcharge for all rides starting in Austin. The money will go to support riders who require ADA accommodations.
- Drivers will only accept rides booked through digital platforms and not accept street-hails.
The city has been working on this agreement as an alternative to taxi rides, citing the demand for other options during peak weekend times.
Drivers who violate the rules can be fined by the city up to $500.
The ridesharing companies must agree to the terms within 30 days.
The vote is set for Thursday.