The Return of the TNCs

May 29, 2017 by Kate Harrington

National Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) Uber and Lyft are resuming operations again in Austin, as legislation establishing statewide regulations was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott today.

Both TNCs pulled out of Austin in May 2016 when voters approved city regulations that included fingerprint-based background checks. The new Texas bill, HB 100, would undo the City’s rules.

It’s hard to say where that will leave the homegrown apps like Ride Austin and Fare that rushed into the market after the departure of Uber and Lyft. While they’ve done well among Austin residents, many out-of-towners may automatically use Lyft or Uber when visiting Austin.

Nor is it clear how the return of the two biggest TNCs will change the city’s transportation landscape.

In the year since Uber and Lyft pulled out of Austin there have been other developments in Austin’s mobility world. Capital Metro, the city’s transit provider, has made plans to increase the frequency on several of its most popular bus routes, and has changed its fare structure to eliminate the Premium Fare on its MetroRapid buses.

Shuttle provider Chariot, a San Francisco company, has also entered the Austin market as another commute option. Chariot began operating through a pilot program with Market District companies as a way to bridge the “last mile” between transit stops and offices. It now runs routes in Austin based on votes from commuters.

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Written by Kate Harrington

Kate is a former reporter, most recently for the Austin Business Journal, where she covered real estate, economic development and transportation. Since 2010 she has been running Thumbtack Communications. Thumbtack provides writing, editing and marketing services. Before moving to Austin in 2002 Kate lived in her native New England, which she still visits often to escape the Texas heat.