Lyft

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Workers' rights advocates called on the Texas Workforce Commission to abandon a proposed rule that would exempt gig economy contractors from unemployment benefits. They say the rule was crafted by industry lobbyists and could encourage businesses to adopt online-only models to dodge state taxes for worker benefits.

Ståle Grut / Flickr

Five days after a controversial amendment defining "sex" as "the physical condition of being male or female" was added to a statewide ride-hailing bill, representatives from Uber and Lyft called the addition disappointing and unnecessary — though both companies stopped short of saying they'd withdraw their support. 

Texas Transportation Institute

Researchers from the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute want to know more about Austinites' experiences with ride-hailing companies before and after Uber and Lyft left town.

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

Over the summer, the Austin City Council took a hard stance on criminal background checks for taxi drivers, eventually expanding them from a statewide check to a national one. But last week, council members reversed course on that decision.

Texas Tribune

A new poll finds broad opposition in Texas to one of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s signature campaign promises.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

District 6 Austin City Council Member Don Zimmerman has filed a lawsuit against Mayor Steve Adler that seeks to quash the result of Austin's ride-hailing election on May 7, arguing the Austin City Council misled voters and that the "swiss-cheese" framework of regulations is unenforceable.

Ride-Hailing Companies Bring Battle to the Legislature

Jun 8, 2016
Qiling Wang / The Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune:

Representatives from Uber and Lyft urged lawmakers to adopt statewide regulations for the ride-hailing industry during a Texas Capitol hearing on Wednesday, citing what they called burdensome local ordinances that have driven them to leave Austin and other Texas cities.

The companies fielded pointed questions from members of the House Committee on Business and Industry about safety concerns and how local regulations, like those in Austin, impact their operations.

Shelby Knowles/Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday the fight is not finished when it comes to regulations in Austin that have driven ride-hailing companies out of the state capital. 

"The issue's not over," Abbott said in an interview on CNBC. "Republicans in the Texas Legislature have already raised proposals coming up in the next session to override the Austin vote." 

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

Andrew Nierengarten used to make most of his income driving for Uber and Lyft. But since the two companies exited Austin Monday, he’s been working for another ride-hailing app: Get Me. And he says since the failure of Proposition 1, passengers assume he has been fingerprinted.


Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft were dealt a stunning blow Saturday, as Austin voters rejected Proposition 1 by a 12-percent margin.
 

The proposition, put on the ballot by a petition circulated by the political action committee backed by Uber and Lyft, would have repealed a city ordinance requiring fingerprint background checks for ride-hailing drivers.


KUT News

Update 9 p.m. Election day totals now are nearly the same as those reported earlier, with 44% in favor and 56% against Prop 1. 

7 p.m. Early voting totals are in for Austin's Proposition 1 election: 44% voted for Prop 1, and 56% voted against. Proposition 1 deals with regulations for ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft. Both companies have said they'll cease to operate in Austin if the measure does not pass. Uber set a hard-out for 8 a.m. Monday. Lyft set its out for 5 a.m. Monday.

KUT

Austin voters head to the polls today to vote on the question known as Proposition 1, which deals with regulations for ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft. Only people who live inside the Austin city limits and are already registered to vote will be able to cast a ballot on this issue.  

You've probably heard something about the ballot measure, but if you're not fully up to speed, we've arranged this handy guide.

Ride-hailing service Lyft notified drivers this afternoon that it would shut down operations in Austin at 5 a.m. Monday if voters reject Proposition 1.

If the measure fails, requirements for fingerprint-based background checks for ride-hailing drivers would be phased in over the next year. Both Uber and Lyft have said they will not operate under those requirements, insisting their own background checks and GPS tracking technology make the service safe. 

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Unbeknownst to some, the City of Austin has licensed five ride-hailing companies for operation. In case you haven’t opened your mailbox or clicked on your TV recently, two of those companies, Uber and Lyft, are currently embroiled in a public vote over what regulations the companies should be subject to.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

The political action committee that put Proposition 1 on the ballot and is campaigning for it received about $6 million from ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft in the past month.

According to documents filed Friday with the Austin City Clerk’s office, Ridesharing Works for Austin raised that sum between March 29 and April 28. The campaign has spent the bulk of that money over the past month, in staff salaries, television advertising, direct mail and consulting work.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

When she’s not driving for ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft, Sara Kaminsky works as a personal trainer. In fact, I exited her Toyota Corolla with a brochure for Shakeology, a weight loss program that helped Kaminsky shed more than 100 pounds over two years.

I confessed that I needed to get in shape. “I could help you with that,” said Kaminsky. But mostly she helped me with a free ride Thursday morning to my nearest polling station, at Maplewood Elementary School.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

In both sides of the tug of war over what rules should govern ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft in Austin, everyone seems to agree that having more transportation options is a potential antidote for DWIs.


On Thursday night, KUT and the Austin Monitor hosted a live debate at the North Door on the May 7 ballot question about regulations for ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft. 

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

Austin City Council members may have been overly optimistic that a 9-year-old’s karaoke machine could carry their comments to reporters. Nonetheless, they pushed on.

Armed both with a “singing machine” borrowed from Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo’s daughter and with printed versions of the two currently competing ride-hailing ordinances, five council members gathered outside City Hall on Tuesday.

Miguel Guitierrez Jr./KUT

We've noticed that many readers are checking out this post ahead of the November election. This post deals with the Proposition 1 that was on the ballot in May 2016. If you're looking for information about Proposition 1 on the November 2016 ballot in Austin, which is a transportation bond measure, go here

Austin voters will head to the polls on Saturday, May 7 to vote for or against Proposition 1. How did we get here? In December, the Austin City Council passed an ordinance that, over time, requires Uber and Lyft drivers to undergo fingerprint-based background checks, among other things. The companies have said they cannot operate under these mandates.

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

For once, rules batted around on the dais did not concern Uber and Lyft drivers.

Austin City Council members Thursday approved nationwide criminal background checks for would-be chauffeur permit holders – those authorized to drive taxicabs, pedicabs, limos or city charter buses. It’s another step in what has been a lengthy attempt to align the regulations that govern cab drivers and ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft have spent nearly $2.2 million so far this year to fund a campaign to collect petition signatures to get an initiative on the ballot in Austin and advocate for that measure.

Miguel Gutierrez, Jr/KUT

Join KUT and the Austin Monitor on Thursday, April 14th at 6:30pm at the North Door (502 Brushy St.) for a live debate on the ride-hailing regulations that will be on the ballot in Austin next month.

RSVP here.

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Austin's ridesharing vote will go ahead as planned, it seems.

The Texas Supreme Court denied a request to order a rewrite of ballot language that Austin voters will consider in May regarding regulations for ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.

Austin resident Samantha Phelps filed a writ with the Supreme Court last week, arguing the language approved by the Austin City Council would mislead voters.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

From the Texas Tribune: The Texas Supreme Court has been pulled into the ongoing battle between Uber and the City of Austin.

An Austin resident, supported by Uber*, has asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on the ballot language for a new measure regulating vehicle-for-hire companies within the city, scheduled to come before voters on May 7.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News

The Austin City Clerk’s office has confirmed they have received a petition to recall the election of Council member Ann Kitchen. The petition was submitted by a local political action committee calling itself Austin4All

The City Clerk must now certify these signatures within 20 days. Once the signatures are certified, the Council member has five days to resign. If she does not, the recall will go to voters, most likely in November.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT News

Everything’s in place for a May 7 vote on rules governing ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft. But which set of rules will drivers be living under until then? It gets a little complicated.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. /KUT News

Austin voters will decide on a petition-driven ordinance drawn up by ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft. 

The Austin City Council rejected the ordinance on an 8-2 vote (Council Member Don Zimmerman abstained), which means the ordinance will go to a public referendum on May 7.

The election will cost the city an estimated $500,000 to $800,000.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

Given that it’s in a government building, the painting that hangs outside Mayor Steve Adler’s office is a bizarre choice. It’s a portrait of a cat – its head crowned in what looks like a steel headdress, with an ornate keyhole at its center. Behind the cat’s head, canoes full of sushi float atop a body of water. Chopsticks stand in for paddles. If nothing else is clear – and little is – the cat wields enormous power over these pieces of sushi. The canoes carrying them appear to be rowing toward it in an act of obedience.


Mike Blizzard via Twitter

When you Google image search Rachel Kania and Tori Moreland, you'll find each of them in similarly staged photos, each wearing a collared shirt and pearls, each standing in front of what looks to be a tall wooden fence – as if they're keeping someone out, but in a friendly way, like a genial neighbor would.

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