Transportation issues highlight May 19 Austin Council agenda

Austin City Council will address the city's transportation needs in the absence of ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft at its May 19 meeting.

Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo is sponsoring a resolution that will examine how to use existing city resources to assist transportation network companies—or TNCs—such as Get Me that continued service in Austin following the failure of Proposition 1 in the May 7 election. Uber and Lyft suspended operations in the city after voters rejected the ballot measure, which called for overturning ride-hailing company regulations.

"This is a response to constituents who [said] they want to avail themselves of transportation network companies,” Tovo said.

The resolution directs city staff to identify ways to support TNCs through programs and channels that already exist for small businesses, such as micro-loans and technical assistance, and asks the city manager to "provide TNCs with a menu of economic development resources for which TNCs that may be interested in expanding operations to meet the existing demand in the Austin area might be eligible."

In a separate item City Council will vote on the first reading of an ordinance to grant a cooperative franchise to ATX Coop Taxi, which could bring another 548 drivers to the on-demand transportation network in Austin. The soonest ATX Coop Taxi would be able to begin operations is 90 days from the ordinance passing on first reading, according to city staff.

Council will also hold a public hearing on and consider adopting the Vision Zero Action Plan, which aims to reduce fatal and serious-injury crashes in Austin.