Austin city Council explores transit options with Uber, Lyft

Print
Email
|

by Ashley Goudeau / KVUE.com

KVUE.com

Posted on May 14, 2014 at 7:01 AM

AUSTIN, Texas -- The Austin City Council is considering allowing new ways to get around Austin.

Companies like Uber and Lyft are working to ride in to town, by using apps to connect riders with drivers.

Getting around Austin without a car of your own can sometimes be a daunting task.

KVUE Defender Andy Pierrotti learned that the hard way earlier this month when a taxi cub left him on the street.

"This is an important, pressing issue. We have people on the streets of downtown Austin who need options," said Chris Riley, Austin City Council member.

Council Member Chris Riley is sponsoring an item on this week's agenda to look at adding Transportation Network Companies into the mix.

"It is a safe and reliable ride. on the black car product all of the partners that we partner with are legally operating entities that have commercial vehicle insurance, operating authority, and drivers have commercial drivers’ licenses," said Chris Nakutis, general manager of Uber.

Right now there is an online petition, with more than $12,000 signatures, is asking the Council to change city regulations and allow Uber to operate.

"Austin is a tech savvy city. Uber is a great technology so it makes sense that we would want to come to Austin," said Nakutis. "We know the people of Austin want us here, we know the black car companies want us here and so there's something that's stopping us and it’s not our riders and it's not our drivers."

Uber's general manager says the problem is the taxi companies who don't want competition.

We spoke with Yellow Cab Austin President Edward Kargbo.

"We welcome competition. We want to have the conversation about consumer safety and competition. Safety comes first. You are introduction a stranger to a stranger. The city has to make sure everybody is properly protected," said Kargbo.

Protecting consumers and being fair is also Riley's concern, but he also says Austin needs more transportation options.

"Cities all over the country have been wrestling with this. California has probably gotten the furthest and Austin really ought to be in that leading edge of cities who are figuring this out," said Riley.

The Council will vote on the resolution Thursday. If it passes the city manager will have 90 days to come up with a report and pilot program for TNCs.

Go here to visit the Austin Needs Uber website.

 

Print
Email
|