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Posts under ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’

AG opinion sought on eminent domain power for Texas Central

This could be a big deal. State Rep. Byron Cook asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday to rule on whether a private company developing a high-speed train project in the state has the power of eminent domain. Texas Central Partners has been developing a privately funded bullet train intended to travel between Houston […]

PocketCab

Austin isn’t the only city with rideshare innovation happening. Sugar Land-based PocketCab LLC plans to fill the potential void with a new dispatch app for taxi and limousine companies if Uber does decide to leave the Houston market. PocketCab works similarly to on-demand services today except that it pulls from independent limo and taxi drivers, […]

What’s the roadmap for ridesharing regulations look like?

This is going to be a challenge, no matter how you feel about it. Several state legislators have made it clear they’re eager to take control of rules for ride-hailing companies in Texas, shifting power from individual cities to the state. But with six months until the next legislative session, there’s no clear consensus on […]

What a free market in ridesharing looks like

It looks like Austin right now. When Uber and Lyft left Austin last month, they thought they were sending a message to the Austin City Council and other local governments looking to regulate them. Instead, their departure may pave the way for a revamp of ride-hailing in Austin that could draw the notice of other […]

Former drivers sue Uber and Lyft over leaving Austin

This ought to be interesting. A pair of former drivers for Uber and Lyft filed dual class action lawsuits Thursday against the ride-hailing companies over their abrupt exit last month from the Austin market. The lawsuits, filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, claim that Uber and Lyft violated the […]

Uptown BRT construction officially begins

Here we go. Crews are relocating trees in preparation for two years of construction, starting in July. The Uptown Dedicated Bus Lanes Project will unfold in three phases, moving from north to south and starting with the West Loop to San Felipe segment. Designed to solve the area’s crushing mobility problem, the $121.5 million boulevard […]

Driverless trucks

Coming to a highway near you? Picture an 18-wheel truck barreling down the highway with 80,000 pounds of cargo and no one but a robot at the wheel. To many, that might seem a frightening idea, even at a time when a few dozen of Google’s driverless cars are cruising city streets in California, Texas, […]

Carrin Patman’s vision for Metro

I commend you to read Christopher Andrews’ report of a recent meeting between Metro Board Chair Carrin Patman and group of local transportation-interested bloggers. I quote here from his recap of what Patman has in mind for Metro while she is Chair: 1. A Regional Transportation / Transit Plan The last plan dates back to […]

First rideshare legislative hearing

There will be a lot more where this came from. Representatives from Uber and Lyft urged lawmakers to adopt statewide regulations for the ride-hailing industry during a Texas Capitol hearing on Wednesday, citing what they called burdensome local ordinances that have driven them to leave Austin and other Texas cities. The companies fielded pointed questions […]

What do we really want from rideshare regulations?

From Medium: To help ensure people have a fair chance at earning a living, Uber’s screening process embraces protections codified in the Fair Credit Reporting Act and other similar laws, ensuring lookback periods are reasonable and arrests without convictions or charges are not considered, among other indicators. We have said time and again that fingerprinting […]

Tesla tries another approach to getting access to Texas

If at first you don’t succeed, change your strategy. Tesla Motors’ Lone Star ambitions won the blessing of the Texas GOP at the party convention in Dallas this month, paving the path towards a possible end to the three years of drama over the electric car manufacturer’s right to sell in Texas. It’s a dramatic […]

My vision for Metro: Expansion

Part 1: Buses Part 2: Marketing itself One of the things that new Metro Chair Carrin Patman has been talking about is a regional transportation plan, to get everyone – including cities and counties not currently involved with Metro – to agree on what transit is and how we best go about doing it in […]

My vision for Metro: Marketing itself

Part 1: Buses Metro Board member Christoph Spieler has said that Metro turns over 20 percent of its ridership each year, just due to the natural comings and goings of life. As such, Metro doesn’t have to expend effort to persuade current non-users to give it a try in order to build ridership. It just […]

My vision for Metro: Buses

I’ve said before that I would have some suggestions for new Metro Board Chair Carrin Patman and her team as they take their places. This post is where I start sharing those suggestions. The idea is to focus on proposals that I believe are doable in the current political and economic climate, in the short […]

One year of the Green and Purple light rail lines

Ridership keeps trending up, but it’s hard to get a handle on the details from this story. Monday marks one-year of Metropolitan Transit Authority’s two newest rail lines. Well, most of Metro’s two newest rail lines. The last mile or so to the Magnolia Park Transit Center will not open until after a long-delayed overpass […]

The high-speed rail fight has officially shifted to Congress

Nothing like a little eminent domain action to spur some people on. In the four years Texas Central Railway unveiled plans to link Dallas and Houston with the country’s first bullet train, officials with the private company have talked a lot about how quickly the line will whisk travelers between two of the country’s largest, […]

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 […]