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Posts under ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’

RideAustin

Another new player gets set to enter the Austin rideshare market. Adding to the growing number of ride-hailing options in Austin since Uber and Lyft’s wholesale evacuation, a new nonprofit, community-based app called RideAustin was introduced today at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar. The app is being described as “innovative,” as well as made […]

Japanese high-speed rail operator to open Dallas office

To be close to the action, no doubt. The Dallas Regional Chamber announced Thursday afternoon that Central Japan Railway Co. will station about 20 employees in Dallas. The company’s technical and operations experts will help privately-backed Texas Central Partners with the development of what could be America’s first high-speed rail line. Texas Central plans to […]

Feds rescind Universities line funding

Not a surprise at this point. A proposal for a light rail line along Richmond Avenue, long left for dead because of strong opposition and years of languishing, has lost its shot now for funding from the Federal Transit Administration. In a letter released Friday by U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, FTA associate administrator Lucy […]

San Antonio to re-revisit its rideshare requirements

Just when you thought it was all over… With Transportation Network Company (TNC) tension looming from Austin and Houston, the City of San Antonio is preparing its push to renegotiate with ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft. And one of the officials taking the lead on the talks believes they’ll be a model for […]

Turner reiterates the need to rethink transportation

New audience, same theme. Houston’s transportation future – and perhaps its economic vitality – relies on more options than new freeway lanes to make room for more cars, Mayor Sylvester Turner said Tuesday. “The solution is to increasingly take advantage of other modes of travel,” Turner told business and elected leaders at a lunch event […]

High speed rail opponents pick up another Congressional ally

Welcome aboard, Smokey Joe. In a filing with the Surface Transportation Board, North Texas Congressman Joe Barton (R) Arlington has come out against a high speed rail project between Dallas and Houston. Barton, whose district encompasses parts of Tarrant County and the city of Arlington that supports Texas Central Railway’s high speed rail line, claims […]

Abbott comments on Austin rideshare referendum

Sort of. Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday the fight is not finished when it comes to regulations in Austin that have driven ride-hailing companies out of the state capital. “The issue’s not over,” Abbott said in an interview on CNBC. “Republicans in the Texas Legislature have already raised proposals coming up in the next session […]

Lawsuit filed over Uber/Lyft referendum language

Oh, for crying out loud. Attorney Martin Harry filed a lawsuit — a draft of it was obtained by the American-Statesman — in Travis County state district court late Tuesday contesting the election’s outcome, alleging that the city violated election law by combining what should have been two ballot questions into one. “I don’t think […]

Patman shares her vision for Metro

I like what I’m hearing from new Metro Board Chair Carrin Patman. A regional transportation plan is critical, Patman said, because it allows everyone to establish what transit and transportation officials should be doing. Everyone, including counties and cities not part of Metro today, needs to be part of the dialogue and outline needs from […]

I-45 update: North St Bridge and more

The latest update from the I-45 Coalition: Dear I-45 Coalition member, October 2015 was the last update … it’s now May 2016 … several things have changed in the past 8 months. As a quick summary, TxDOT will be rebuilding I-45.  This will be a massive project that includes rerouting I-45 downtown by abandoning most […]

Yeah, we’re still talking about the Austin rideshare referendum

The tech community was as divided as everyone else. Joshua Baer, founder of Capital Factory, the downtown technology incubator, has been a critic of the proposed regulations. He said he believes the vote sent signals that Austin is hostile to startups. “Losing Uber and Lyft is a major setback to our reputation as an innovative […]

Are driverless cars ready or not?

GM and Lyft think theirs are pretty close. General Motors Co. and Lyft Inc. within a year will begin testing a fleet of self-driving Chevrolet Bolt electric taxis on public roads, a move central to the companies’ joint efforts to challenge Silicon Valley giants in the battle to reshape the auto industry. The plan is […]

Uber and Lyft do what they said they would

They’ve cut and run. Uber and Lyft made good on their threat to end Austin service Monday, pulling out two days after voters rejected their $9.1 million bid to overturn the city’s rules for ride-hailing companies. Their departure came despite offers from Mayor Steve Adler to return to the table to negotiate a compromise. Meanwhile, […]

More on the Austin rideshare referendum

The fallout continues to fall. Austin voters on Saturday decisively rejected Uber and Lyft’s $8.6 million bid to overturn the city’s rules for ride-hailing apps, bringing a stunning conclusion to the most expensive campaign in city history. The failure of Proposition 1 brought new threats that the ride-hailing giants would retreat from Austin as the […]

What Council members think about the Uber threat

I was scrolling through Facebook and came upon this post from CM Michael Kubosh: Mayor Turner wants UBER to stay, but they must follow the city’s ordinance that requires a CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK and FINGERPRINTS. Council Member Michael Kubosh said that all public service drivers for buses, cabs, train, limos, shuttles and jitneys require the […]

Rideshare robocall lawsuit filed

This ought to be interesting. Ride-hailing company Uber was hit with a class-action lawsuit on Wednesday over “robo-text messages” the company has been sending Austin customers seeking their support for a controversial referendum on the ballot Saturday. The suit, filed in federal court, claims Uber violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending “thousands […]

Still seeking a downtown connection for the high speed rail line

I’m hoping one gets found. Texas Central Partners, the private firm proposing the Houston-to-Dallas line, briefed a city council committee Monday, telling officials they remain on track to break ground in late 2017. “That might slide into early 2018,” said Shaun McCabe, vice-president of Texas Central Railway. Any connection to downtown, which would likely require […]

Austin Uber referendum update

There’s still a crapload of money being spent by Uber and Lyft to win this thing. In the last month, Ridesharing Works for Austin – the PAC established by transportation network companies Uber and Lyft – raised $4.9 million and spent $4.6 million promoting Prop. 1, the TNC-supported ride-hailing ordinance. With another million in the […]

Lone Star Rail reboot: It’s all about the money

Isn’t it always? The message was clear: If San Antonio-area officials aren’t willing to commit millions of dollars to planning a regional passenger rail line, Austin-area officials will reconsider their financial commitment to the project. The Capital Area and Alamo Area metropolitan planning organizations met Wednesday to discuss the status of a proposed passenger rail […]

GetMe waits in the wings

No matter what happens with the rideshare repeal referendum in Austin, there will be at least one vehicle for hire company in the capital city. Early voting is underway in Austin on Proposition 1, where residents will decide which regulations the city should adopt for vehicle-for-hire companies like Uber and Lyft. Both companies have pledged […]

More on the Uber ultimatum

Initial reaction is not terribly receptive. Ride-hailing giant Uber threatened Wednesday to stop operating in Houston unless city leaders amend local regulations the company said are making it tough for them to recruit drivers. The ultimatum, the latest skirmish in what has been a contentious relationship between Uber and the city since it started operating […]

Uber says it will leave Houston if it does not change its fingerprinting requirement

I called it. Uber announced Wednesday that the company plans to cease operations in Houston if the city council does not repeal its existing regulations relating to vehicle-for-hire companies. Houston is one of two cities in the country where Uber continues to operate despite a local requirement that its drivers undergo fingerprint-based background checks. Uber […]

Endorsement watch: Against Prop 1

The Statesman urges a vote against the divisive referendum to repeal Austin’s ordinance regulating transit network companies like Uber and Lyft. Voting against Prop. 1 is the best way to ensure that Lyft, Uber and other ride-hailing service drivers, undergo the most thorough criminal background checks endorsed by law enforcement: fingerprint checks. By contrast, Lyft […]

An outside view on Uber in Houston

The Statesman looks at how Austin’s fight with Uber and Lyft over fingerprint requirements compares with other cities in Texas, including Houston. Officials in Houston said they decided early on that their city, despite having almost 2,500 licensed taxis, could benefit from the emerging ride-hailing industry. So they approached Uber and Lyft a few years […]

Lone Star Rail: Not dead yet

Just a flesh wound, actually. The decision by Union Pacific to end its working relationship with Lone Star Rail District (LSRD) in February, was a blow in efforts to develop a passenger rail line between San Antonio and Austin. But in a special meeting Friday in San Marcos, district directors reaffirmed their commitment to find […]

Get Me goes to Galveston

Swooping in to fill the gap left by Uber’s departure. Galveston is close to getting app-based transportation back. Get Me, a Dallas-based company that started serving Houston in October, has submitted an application with Galveston to provide ride services on the island, city spokeswoman Kala McCain said Monday. Galveston has not had any competition to […]

UberACCESS debuts in Houston

Good to see. A partnership that has helped disabled people connect with a popular ride service launched in Houston at midnight. Uber officials confirmed UberACCESS, which offers wheelchair-accessible rides for the same price as UberX, began service Wednesday. Like all Uber service, it is available via smartphone app, 24 hours a day. “I’m thrilled to […]

Meet the toucan light

The first of its kind in Houston, though maybe not the last. The new traffic signal suspended above Appel at Yale and Seventh is a first for Texas, but also an adjustment for residents – some of whom are unsure of its benefit. Called a toucan, as in “two can go,” the signal gives pedestrians […]

Take transit to the game

If you can, you should. The transformation of downtown from a work place that empties after dark to a true community is finally underway in earnest, with residents, retail shops, and restaurants that remain open long after the lunch rush. The building boom is everywhere, and that includes the area around Minute Maid, which had […]

Lots of money being spent on the Austin Uber/Lyft ordinance referendum

Wow. David Butts, meet Goliath. Campaign finance reports filed Thursday for Austin’s ride-hailing services election show a beyond-massive lead in money for Ridesharing Works for Austin, the Uber- and Lyft-backed political action committee supporting a proposed ordinance that would become law if Proposition 1 passes on May 7. Ridesharing Works reported that between Jan. 1 […]

Uber settles California fingerprints lawsuit

Noted for the record. Ride-hailing company Uber will pay at least $10 million to settle allegations by California prosecutors that it misled passengers about the quality of its driver background checks. The settlement was signed Thursday in San Francisco, where Uber is based and where the district attorney led a lawsuit that said Uber falsely […]

Yale Street Bridge to be closed for construction

Three words: Find alternate routes. There’s about to be a lot of yelling about Yale Street, as the historic span makes way for a modern replacement. Crews will close the bridge carrying the road over White Oak bayou on April 18 to prepare for demolition. For the next 20 months, drivers in the area will […]

Lots of people took the train to the games

Nice. After handling more than a quarter-million rail trips over the four-day NCAA Final Four period, Metro is calling it a slam dunk. “These are numbers are fantastic for us,” spokesman Jerome Gray said. Metro said 255,700 rail boardings occurred from Friday until Monday. That’s roughly 87,000 more for the four days than the system […]

Reimagining public transportation is hard work

Noted for the record. Four years ago, Helsinki launched an innovative bus service as part of a long-term plan to make cars irrelevant. It was called Kutsuplus—Finnish for “call plus.” And it was one of the world’s first attempts to reinvent carpooling for the algorithm age. The service matched passengers who were headed roughly in […]