Uber and Lyft had paused their operations in Austin, TX back in 2016, because local regulators imposed rules that both argued were overly taxing to running their businesses. The rules included requiring fingerprint-based background checks for drivers, as well as barring pick-ups and drop-offs in lanes on certain roads within the city. Both Uber and Lyft will resume operations because Texas state regulators have passed a bill that overrules local regulations regarding ride-hailing services.
State Governor Greg Abbot will sign the new bill into law on Monday, the same day that both will resume service in the city, as The Texas Tribune reports. The bill, offiically HB 100, essentially undoes the rules put in place by Austin municipal regulators, standardizing requirements for ride-hailing operations across the state, and requiring that they have a permit from the state licensing body, which incurs an annual operations fee. It requires background checks performed at the local, state and national level, but doesn’t require that these include fingerprinting.
Uber confirmed it will return to active operating status in Austin on Monday, and provided the following statement to TechCrunch via spokesperson Travis Considine:
Austin is an incubator for technology and entrepreneurship, and we are excited to be back in the mix. Our local team is focused on making sure that Uber works for Austinites and helping our driver-partners earn. We know that we have a lot of work to do in the city, but we couldn’t be more excited for the road ahead.
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