City Of Austin Cracks Down On Lyft

After the ride-sharing company launched in the Texas capital last week, defying municipal restrictions, the city cited drivers and impounded their cars.

Lyft drivers are already feeling the burn of the company's decision to defy city rules to launch service in Austin.

According to the Austin Business Journal, on May 31, the city impounded two Lyft drivers' cars and cited them for operating without a valid chauffeur permits. Another driver was cited on May 29, the day the ridesharing company fired up a fleet of pink moustaches in the Texas capital, despite municipal regulations that limit for-hire transportation to licensed companies like taxis and car services.

For Lyft to legally operate in Austin, it would have to charge no more than the federally established carpooling rate of 56 cents per mile, while Lyft's suggested reimbursement rate for its drivers is $1.92 per mile plus other fees. The company has been actively lobbying to get the regulations changed, but launched in the city last week anyway in hopes that demonstrating the value of the service to Austin citizens, who face traffic and public transportation issues, would help its cause.

In an emailed statement to the ABJ about how the company would support the cited drivers, a Lyft spokeswoman said, "We responded immediately to provide support and we are also covering the cost of impound fees and any necessary legal assistance."

[Image: Flickr user Robert Couse-Baker]

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  • Lucas Laramie

    Me or you would get cited for using our phone while driving yet, Uber / Lyft drivers never get cited even though they are in clear violation of State laws . Are these drivers above the law ? Definately . They operate in clear violation of State law ; READ THE LAW .

    Electronic Wireless Communications Device: Prohibited Use

    23123.5. (a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text–based communication, unless the electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice operated and hands-free operation to dictate, send, or listen to a text-based communication, and it is used in that manner while driving.

    (b) As used in this section “write, send, or read a text-based communication” means using an electronic wireless communications device to manually communicate with any person using a text-based communication, including, but not limited to, communications referred to as a text message, instant message, or electronic mail. Cal (c) For purposes of this section, a person shall not be deemed to be writing, reading, or sending a text–based communication if the person reads, selects, or enters a telephone number or name in an electronic wireless communications device for the purpose of making or receiving a telephone call or if a person otherwise activates or deactivates a feature or function on an electronic wireless communications device.