Uber and Lyft drivers continue to be cited in Austin

Lyft drivers mark their vehicles with iconic pink mustaches. (Lyft handout photo)
Lyft drivers mark their vehicles with iconic pink mustaches. (Lyft handout photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Drivers for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have been cited 38 times since May 29 for operating without a valid city chauffeur’s permit and not operating as part of a taxi franchise. The two violations are Class C misdemeanors that carry fines of up to $500 each. And in all but two cases, the driver had their vehicle impounded.

The city’s ground transportation enforcement team has been responsible for the crackdown. The enforcement team was not created as a result of Uber and Lyft coming to Austin, city officials say, adding that the group had been in place prior to their arrival.

Lyft started operating in Austin in late May, and Uber launched a week later in the capital city. Council members are set to vote Thursday on whether to allow the companies to operate legally within city limits. But currently, they are technically illegal cab services.

The proposal by the city manager’s office says companies must:

  • Run yearly criminal and driver background checks on drivers and prevent anyone convicted of DWI within seven years, or other felonies, of driving. Additionally, companies would be required to 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.

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