The Texas Senate today backed a bill that, in the absence of a paperwork, will overturn local regulations limiting the presence of Uber and Lyft private transport companies and will establish a framework to regulate this sector in the solitary star state .
The norm, now headed for the governor’s desk, Republican Greg Abbott, will allow the return of both technology applications to the capital of Texas, Austin, a city that set standards exactly one year ago that Uber and Lyft refused to meet , Initiating a long pulse with the municipal authorities.
Specifically, the Texan capital forced these Californian companies to submit their drivers to a criminal record through the fingerprint, a system that the companies described as “obsolete” and lamented that hiring difficult.
However, Austin defended that it is a mechanism that aims to detect potential criminals who want to operate as drivers, putting at risk to passengers who use their applications.
Uber and Lyft then invested more than $ 8 million in a campaign (unprecedented in Austin) to revoke the measure and even offered free travel to go to vote on the day of the referendum, but 56% of those who went to the polls supported Unexpectedly the government initiative.
Following this vote, the two Californian companies met their threat to leave Austin, the fastest growing city in the country, becoming a mecca for emerging companies.
The vacuum they left attracted other applications with a similar service, such as RideAustin, Getme or Fasten, which do comply with local rules.
With the measure passed today with Republicans in favor and Democrats against (20-10), HB100, Texas will establish a state framework to regulate this sector and will undo the local rules that both companies indicated were “overly annoying” for their Business models.
Thus, the project will require these companies to have a permit from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and pay an annual fee to operate statewide.
He will also ask Uber and Lyft to conduct yearly local, state and national criminal background checks for drivers, with the difference that fingerprints will not be necessary.
Despite having voted in favor, state Senator Don Huffines expressed his concern in a letter that this legislation would stifle the free market by interventionist.
“Government regulations are a poor substitute for market forces and personal responsibility,” said Huffines, who lamented the “missed opportunity” to encourage innovation.
The promoters of the project, by contrast, defended that it is a norm that will prevent of the municipalities “too protectionist”.
“A statewide travel-sharing framework will help attract greater economic opportunities and expand access to secure and reliable transportation options for more Texans,” Uber general director of Texas Tribune Safraz Maredia said in a statement.
After ceasing to operate in Austin, Uber also threatened with an exit from Houston for the approval of ordinances similar to those of the capital, although finally it did not fulfill its threat.
The company did leave San Antonio in 2016, but within a few months it reached an agreement with local authorities and returned.