Many a techie moaned and groaned about the inability to get an Uber or Lyft at SXSW this March. Fortunately, if you head to Austin for the festival next year, that should no longer be a problem.
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The app-based car services plan to relaunch in the Lone Star State's capital on Monday. As The Texas Tribune reports, Texas Gov. Greg Abbot is expected that day to sign into law HB 100, a measure that overrides strict local regulations on app-based car services.
"Austin is an incubator for technology and entrepreneurship, and we are excited to be back in the mix," an Uber spokesperson told PCMag. "Our local team is focused on making sure that Uber works for Austinites and helping our driver-partners earn. We know that we have a lot of work to do in the city, but we couldn't be more excited for the road ahead."
"As we've said for months, we will relaunch in the city as soon as Gov. Abbott signs HB 100 into law," Lyft said, adding that it's "excited to return to Austin on Monday."
Uber and Lyft stopped operating in Austin in May 2016 following a two-year battle to insulate their drivers against additional regulations, background checks, and licensing. The companies spent more than $8 million fighting for a piece of local legislation, Proposition 1, which would have overturned a law passed by the Austin City Council in December 2015 requiring new drivers to be fingerprinted for criminal background checks.
As the Tribune explains, HB 100 requires annual background checks on drivers but not fingerprinting. Companies like Uber and Lyft will also have to get permits from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and pay an annual fee.