Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft have announced they will be returning to Austin on Memorial Day, most likely under a new state law. House Bill 100, which the governor is expected to sign, preempts local ride-hailing regulations, putting the state in charge of overseeing these companies.
“We're excited to return to Austin on Monday. As we've said for months, we will relaunch in the city as soon as Gov. Abbott signs HB 100 into law,” Lyft spokesperson Chelsea Harrison said.
It’s official—we’re returning to Austin on Monday. We look forward to serving you and this amazing city again soon.
— Uber Austin (@Uber_ATX) May 25, 2017
"Our local team is focused on making sure that Uber works for Austinites and helping our driver-partners earn," Travis Considine, Uber's communication manager, said.
Uber and Lyft left Austin last May, after voters upheld city regulations mandating fingerprint-based background checks for drivers. Since then, at least seven ride-hailing companies have set up operations in Austin – including homegrown options, such as RideAustin.
HB 100 requires ride-hailing companies to do background checks on drivers, though fingerprinting is no longer mandatory. The state, rather than the city, will also begin to collect fees from the companies. Austin took in nearly $1 million in fees over the past year.
When the bill passed last week, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said he hoped Uber and Lyft would "return ready to compete in a way that reflects Austin’s values.”