Bill Setting Statewide Rules for Ridesharing Companies Passes Texas Senate

May 18, 2017

A bill that would preempt local regulations for ridesharing companies in Texas and replace them statewide standards has passed the Texas Senate. It now heads to the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature.

HB 100, sponsored by Georgetown Sen. Charles Schwertner, sets statewide operating standards, including insurance requirements, for transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. These companies currently are regulated on a city-by-city basis in Texas.

Major TNCs have clashed with cities over local ordinances, particularly over requirements to fingerprint drivers. Uber and Lyft still operate in Houston and San Antonio, where fingerprinting is required, but left Austin in 2016 after voters there approved similar standards.

Other major cities, like Dallas, Fort Worth, and El Paso don’t require driver fingerprints.

Schwertner said the inconsistent patchwork of regulations is a problem.

“Regulating these services at the city level will always be challenging for the simple fact that people don’t live, work or play in only one city,” Schwertner said in the Senate’s release. “Transportation, by its very nature, is a regional concern that routinely crosses municipal boundaries.”

Schwertner added that 40 other states already regulate ridesharing at the state level.

Under HB 100, local ordinances already in place would be preempted by state regulations, meaning TNCs wouldn’t be required to fingerprint drivers in any city.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation would oversee TNCs and would have the power to revoke licenses to operate in the state if the businesses don’t comply with state rules.

The bill includes a number of provisions aimed at protecting customers. It would require that ride sharing drivers undergo a yearly criminal background check, not be on the sex offender registry, and carry auto insurance.

TNCs would have to provide an electronic receipt to customers, and would have to maintain records for all rides within the past five years.

The bill would specifically prohibit discrimination based on disabilities, and would require licensed TNCs to implement pilot programs in one of the four largest cities in the state specifically to serve customers with disabilities.

Source: Texas Senate

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Latest Comments

  • May 18, 2017 at 4:58 pm
    Rosenblatt says:
    Why do you think there isn't a bill on the texting ban yet? Correct me if I'm wrong, but there's a Republican majority in the TX senate by 11 seats. Any idea why they're not c... read more
  • May 18, 2017 at 3:35 pm
    Agent says:
    Still no bill on the texting ban with time running out. Senate to let it die on the vine yet again?
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