AUSTIN (KXAN) — Uber drivers completed more than 100,000 trips over the last two weeks, a representative for the company said. The peak in demand centered around the back-to-back weekends of the Austin City Limits Music Festival.
The company said rides were readily available in the Zilker Park area at all times, and the wait time during peak hours — 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. — for an UberX was less than five minutes.
“Austin driver partners really stepped up to the challenge when faced with the largest spike in demand in the city to date,” said Chris Nakutis, general manager of Uber for Texas.
At some times, the number of Uber drivers on the road exceeded the amount of taxi licenses in the city, the company added.
Austin City Council members have yet to give final approval for companies like Uber to legally operate with city limits. The fight on whether to allow ridesharing companies to conduct business in Austin has been going on for months. Lyft launched here in late May and Uber followed a few days later. However, the current code does not allow those types of companies to operate within the city. They need additional permitting and licensing.
However, city leaders have approved items concerning transportation network companies (TNC) on two separate readings. Several questions and concerns raised by some council members centered around insurance coverage, ADA compliance, and price-gouging. A final vote could come this Thursday.
City officials added that no drivers were cited by ground transportation enforcement team members during either weekend of the festival. Nearly 40 drivers had been cited since late May 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. Several drivers also had their vehicles impounded.