Taxi Drivers Association of Austin rallies Taxi Drivers Association of Austin rallies in support of a cab co-op outside of Austin City Hall on April 21.[/caption]

Changes to taxi cab franchise agreements with the city of Austin could undergo some changes that will take shape this week, but not all taxi cab drivers want those changes.

Instead, the Taxi Driver Association of Austin is asking Austin City Council to create a cab co-op where permits are given to taxi drivers instead of the franchises, said Dave Passmore, president of the association.

Giving permits to the drivers would create better working conditions for them and better customer service for those who ride in taxis, Passmore said.

The Taxi Drive Association of Austin has about 425 members, Passmore said.

Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo took a quick leave from the council's executive session on Tuesday to speak to those with the group participating in a rally outside of Austin City Hall. She told the group she's interested in working with them on the idea of a cab co-op and creating more provisions to protect worker's rights.

"I think they've raised a very good idea [about creating a cab co-op]," Tovo said. "I think it's time to consider it seriously and see if there's a way to implement it."

Austin's transportation system is undergoing many changes since the introduction of transportation network companies, or TNCs, like Uber and Lyft, she said. Austin residents have made it clear they value having a variety of transportation options, she said.

"I think it's very important we have a transportation system that's fair and it's fair to the individuals who make their living driving," Tovo said. "As a city we have a responsibility to make sure we're sustaining a really vital transportation ecosystem. So we need to be sure all of these pieces will be able to co-exist."

The April 23 agenda has 54 items with 39 items on the consent agenda.

  • Consider a zoning change allowing the construction of Rockwood apartments at 8528 Burnet Road.

  • Consider changes to the taxi cab franchise agreements with Austin Cab, Yellow Cab and Lone Star Cab Company on first reading only.

  • Consider authorization of Decker Lake Golf LLC to operate a golf course at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park.

  • Consider a contract allowing construction of a natural gas line in Zilker Metropolitan Park.