Uber and Lyft may have left Austin, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been plenty going on in the ridesharing world.
Texas lawmakers are starting to look into whether or not the state should craft regulations for industries like transportation network companies (TNCs) and other sharing economy businesses like HomeAway. The Texas House of Representatives Business and Industry Committee held hearings on that topic in early June. The committee heard testimony both from Uber and Lyft representatives as well as from taxi representatives and other TNCs.
Meanwhile, the number of TNCs vying to fill the space that Uber and Lyft left is growing. More than 10 companies have either started operating in Austin or have announced plans to do so since Uber and Lyft suspended services in Austin on May 9. Those include GetMe, which had started operating before May 9, Fare, Wingz, Fasten, ReDriver and zTrip. Others have made headlines for their announcements, but haven’t yet applied for agreements, including RideAustin, a nonprofit TNC proposed by a group of Austin entrepreneurs. One of the newest ridesharing companies to announce plans for Austin is Tride, which hails from Tulsa, Oklahoma and got its start as an app to hail party buses. It’s planning to have a more traditional ridesharing app in Austin.
And finally, while it seems that former Uber and Lyft drivers could soon have their pick of new jobs in the TNC market, that hasn’t stopped two of those former drivers from filing class action lawsuits against Uber and Lyft. The lawsuits claim that Uber and Lyft violated a federal notification act when they abruptly left Austin in May because they didn’t properly notify their employees. Uber and Lyft have said that their drivers are contractors, not employees.
Keep following BuildingATX for the latest on these ridesharing developments.