Uber, Lyft Return with Texas Statewide Ridesharing Legislation
In May Uber and Lyft packed up and left Austin after the failure of Prop 1. The change was pretty apparent, especially for those that went out about town over the weekend. Both sides voiced concerns – some of them shared. But Austin coped. Traffic fatalities and injuries did not increase when the
Although other ride sharing services, such as GetMe and Wingz, made their presence known, during SXSW festival goers expressed doubt in the apps’ technology. The major apps all had an outage in the first part of the festival. Some were outraged, others just counted their blessings.
In this post we’ll take a look back at what happened when Uber and Lyft left Austin.
Austin Ridesharing: Uber Lyft Pulled Out May 9th
Monday May 9th, was the first day Austinites have had to get around without Uber and Lyft. Both popular ride sharing apps halted operation after 56% of voters voted against Proposition 1 this past weekend. This action has seemingly left a void in easy to use transportation options. Many are nervous that this absence will make the roads of Austin an unsafe place. Will more people drink and drive? Will people walk home at night, exposing themselves to dangerous situations?
Austin Looks to Other Ride-Sharing Companies After Proposition 1 Fails
Mayor Adler has made known that the ball is in Uber and Lyft’s court, and that the city of Austin will welcome them back if they comply with what the city feels is the safest option for its citizens. Mandatory fingerprinting would help ensure that people are being driven home safely, and in capable hands. Uber and Lyft currently rely on name-based background checks, which are nowhere near as reliable. Adler also makes it clear that there are ride sharing options that have complied with Austin’s guidelines, and are reliable options, although they have been relatively unknown until now.
Austin saw Pop up rideshare services when Uber, Lyft pulled out suddenly.
After the vote on Prop 1, Uber and Lyft left town so quickly that the city pulled together job fairs in an attempt to place masses of laid off workers in new positions. The city held extended hours to assist drivers in getting finger printed. But even so, some Austinites looked to even more alternative modes of transportation.
Because of the problems already caused, drivers have resorted to posting to Facebook and Craigslist to get business, which is not necessarily safe. However, Arcade City, a ride-sharing group, popped up on Facebook. This group is already getting a lot of attention for their quick service. However, this service goes against city regulations.
To use this service, a rider or driver joins the Facebook group and becomes a driver or rider. Riders will post that they need a ride, and the location they are in. Multiple drivers may respond, and the rider will pick a driver, and exchange numbers. The driver then picks up the rider, and the rider pays with cash, Venmo, Bitcoin, and Google or Apple pay. Many have joined the group, which currently has 12,730 members. This is a private group, so you must request to join.
Although people are happy that they have a service, and drivers have a way to get quick business, this practice lacks safety precautions. It is unregulated, and has no background checks, so the wrong driver could lead to a dangerous situation. Some drivers are posting images of their old Uber and Lyft profiles to reassure riders, but many are not.
Arcade City is working on creating an app that will comply with the city and be an easy-to-use app. If you are currently using Arcade City through Facebook, please consider the risks of accepting a ride with someone on the internet that is not going through a background check and operating through a well known group.
Get Me, Wingz, and Ztrip Fail to Meet Austin Rider Needs
Drivers have expressed concern that the sheer volume of traffic on any app prohibits them from using just one. Instead some drivers have registered with multiple companies to reach the level of demand they saw with Uber and Lyft.
Wingz, which previously only provided airport rides, has already expanded their services in Austin to provide rides throughout the city.
Drivers that are fortunate enough to be driving for these companies already claim that the demand has been very high and they are extremely busy. Good for them, bad for riders, who have claimed that the wait has been very long for rides because of the high demand.
But the drivers left high and dry by Uber and Lyft have complained that getting approved to drive by these new companies is taking too long. These drivers, going a full week without income from Uber and Lyft, have resorted to other ways to make money driving, such as charging friends and old clients.
How to Get Around Austin with an Approved Driver
If you still want to ride with a driver that complies with Austin’s fingerprinting ordinance, the following TNCs are good options.
Another ride-sharing option, Fasten, has popped up in the past couple of days. This app intends to comply with the city’s regulations, and most closely resembles Uber and Lyft. The app was planning a launch in Austin, but has become available sooner than expected because of high demand.
The fees for a 4 passenger vehicle are as follows:
Another perk? Rates don’t change based on weather or demand, but if you are in a rush, you can boost your ride. Phone numbers are also not visible, and you can text or call through the app, so your driver or rider will not have your number on their phone. This makes this option even safer than Uber and Lyft.
Austin Call Center Helps Out-of-Work Uber and Lyft Drivers Find Jobs
The sudden departure of Uber and Lyft left thousands of drivers out of work. The city responded by forming a call center to help drivers find other work opportunities and set them up with other ride sharing companies, cab companies, shuttle services, electric low-speed vehicles, and pedicabs.
Call the hotline at 512-687-7441 between 8am – 5pm on weekdays for information on work opportunities. After hours call the United Way’s 211 number.
Ride-Sharing in Austin: Get Me, ZTrip, Wingz
Three companies have agreed to comply with the city of Austin’s regulations. These 3 companies are unique yet offer the same great service and will make the absence of Uber and Lyft less of an issue. Here are the apps you should be downloading, and the services they provide:
- Get Me: Mayor Adler mentioned this company, and many believe this is a good new option. Get Me, a company formed in Dallas, not only provides rides, but the delivery of services as well. With the app, you have the option of selecting “something” or “somewhere”, which lets the service know if you would like a delivery or a ride. One major perk? No surge prices. The rates are reasonable, and you don’t have to worry about crazy prices during peak hours. Another perk of Get Me? All drivers go through a background check, vehicle inspection, and personal interview. You are assured that the person driving you, and the vehicle you are being transported in, are unquestionably safe.
- ZTrip: Similarly to Get Me, this app boasts no surge pricing. Besides this feature, it’s really similar to Uber and Lyft! It offers a more luxurious “black car” option, or a “taxi cab” option, which is a bit cheaper. It also has location recognition, up-front pricing, customizable pickup, text message updates, and driver tracking. The one big catch? The full service is not available in Austin yet. Right now, you can use ExecuCar, which is specifically an upscale ride to the Austin Airport, available 24/7. With this service you can book a ride to the airport, and not need to contact a cab company or use public transportation. Want this service to be completely available in Austin? Contact zTrip and encourage them to expand their service in Austin, we could use it.
- Wingz: This service is similar to zTrip in that it currently only offers rides to and from the airport. Although this isn’t going to help you get home from a bar, this will make travel planning easier, and you won’t have to wait in line for a cab after a long grueling flight. This service offers guaranteed prices, safe and trusted drivers, and the option of booking and planning ahead. Another perk? You can get 5 dollars off your first ride.
Austin Ride-Hailing App Car Crashes Do Happen
Being in a car wreck can be stressful – especially if you are injured. Ride-sharing can help go out for a night out and prevent drunk, intoxicated driving. But even if you make the right choice, not everyone does.
If you were in an accident while in a ride-sharing vehicle, it may be confusing to identify where to file a claim. Who’s insurance is responsible for your medical expenses? Not all Austin car accident cases are the same. Contact an attorney before you speak with an insurance adjuster from any party.
McMinn Law Firm Encourages Safe Transportation in Austin
Although it is hard to break routine and get out of your comfort zone, it is time to leave Uber and Lyft behind and try out these new options. There are other ways to get home safely, such as cabs and public transportation. Check out our old post here for ways to get home safely without driving drunk.
You don’t need Uber and Lyft to get home safely. Make sure you are continuing to make safe choices, and never getting behind the wheel if you have been drinking. Always encourage others to make safe decisions, because even one drink puts everyone at risk.
If you or a loved one is injured in a car accident, call us at 512-474-0222, use the live chat on our website, fill out the form on this page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org