Gov. Abbott signs ridesharing bill, Uber and Lyft return to Austin
AUSTIN, Texas- Just before 11:00 today, Governor Abbott signed HB100 into law.
Because the bill received 2/3 support in both the House and Senate it went into effect immediately upon being signed. One Lyft driver screamed "I got a ride" in the same parking lot Gov Abbott signed the bill into law.
Governor Abbott said the law allows competition and free enterprise in the state. He called Austin's ride share ordinance a "patch work quilt" regulation that drives down opportunities.
"We are going to override burdensome, wrong-headed, regulatory barriers that disrupt the free enterprise system upon which Texas has been based and upon which has elevated Texas to be the number one state in the United States for doing business," said Abbott.
The new law does not require that drivers be finger printed for criminal background checks like Austin's ordinance does, but it does still require a background check.
Last summer, Austin voted to require all ride hailing drivers to have a fingerprint background check. Uber and Lyft spent over $10 million in a campaign to ultimately not have to change their policies for Austin. The apps of the two major ride hailing companies "went dark" within the city limits the Monday after the May election. This left Uber and Lyft drivers without jobs and riders limited on where to turn for transportation. At that time, the city had one other widely-known ride hailing company.
In over a year's time without Uber and Lyft, several smaller ride hailing companies flourished in Austin. At a check presentation earlier in May, Ride Austin CEO Andy Tryba said they were the top ride hailing company in the Austin market. However, he estimated a 50 percent loss in rider volumes and told supports that if Ride Austin would have to shut down, if they didn't provide 20,000 rides a week.