Uber and Lyft gets green light from Austin council

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
(AP File Photo/Ted S. Warren)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — After months of debate, council members voted 6-1 on Thursday to legalize Transportation Network Companies (TNC) such as Uber and Lyft in Austin. Council member Laura Morrison was the only person to vote no.

One point of contention for city council members was Uber and Lyft’s dynamic “surge” pricing model. During peak times, the companies charge customers more for its services. Council members were not able to pass an amendment to set a cap on the pricing.

In order to operate in the City of Austin, a TNC will have to have commercial automobile liability insurance coverage of $1 million for bodily injury and property damage. The company must also keep records of service that will be available for audits.

“I’m glad that we were able to negotiate one of the strongest ordinances in the country on behalf of our constituents. Many cities across the country that have legalized TNCs have focused on the important public safety improvements, but they didn’t also secure information-sharing commitments from the TNCS to report outcomes back to the city or work to provide equivalent ADA accessible services. Today’s groundbreaking agreement will elevate the Austin TNC model as an example for other cities to follow,” said Council member Chris Riley.

The TNCs must agree with the ordinance within 30 days.

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