Uber and Lyft, the ride hailing companies, that rode off into the sunset a year ago when they couldn’t reach agreement with local officials, have announced plans to return to Austin on Monday.
“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,” Travis Considine, Uber spokesman, wrote in a statement. “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.”
The return to Austin comes on Monday as Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign HB 100, a statewide law governing transportation network companies, also known as ride hailing or ride sharing companies, in Texas. The law overrides existing regulations enacted by cities across the state, including an Austin ordinance requiring fingerprint background checks on all ride hailing company drivers.
“We’re excited to return to Austin on Monday,” according to a statement from Lyft. “As we’ve said for months, we will relaunch in the city as soon as Governor Abbott signs HB 100 into law.”
The statewide law requires the ride hailing companies to conduct an annual criminal background check on each of its drivers. And it stipulates that each driver is a contractor for the company and not an employee. But it does not require a fingerprint background check.
The law also requires drivers not to discriminate against passengers based on race, age, disability or area of town. The law would take effect Sept. 1st.
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