Amid proposed legislation, Uber touts jobs in Texas

AUSTIN -- Although several cities across Texas are in the middle of a permitting fight regarding transportation networking companies like Uber and Lyft, Uber said it has created more than 20,000 jobs across the state since launching last year. 10,000 of those jobs are in Austin, the company said.

This number could soon grow if lawmakers pass proposed legislation which would regulate Uber and similar ride sharing companies across the state. Currently, Texas legislators are considering House Bill 2440, proposed by State Rep. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall), which would establish consistent ride sharing regulations that protect riders and ensure companies like Uber are permanently legal across Texas.

READ THE BILL: House Bill 2440

The state regulations would supersede city regulations and would regulate aspects such as permitting, fares, driver and vehicle identification, receipts and insurance. It would also enact a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy for drivers and require driver applicants to submit driving history and registration information as well as take part in a criminal background check.

The bill would not allow drivers who have been convicted of more than three moving violations in the previous three years, reckless driving, evading police, driving without a license, driving while intoxicated, fraud, sexual offenses or the use of a motor vehicle to commit a crime. It would also ban registered sex offenders, anyone without a driver's license or registration or anyone younger than 19 years old from becoming a transportation network driver.

The bill would also ban hailing vehicles on the street or cash payments and would set firm discrimination and accessibility policies.

In fall 2014, Austin passed an ordinance requiring background checks and city auditing for Uber and Lyft drivers. Other cities in Texas have passed similar ordinances. Uber currently operates in Austin, Houston, Dallas, El Paso, Corpus Christi, Amarillo, Waco, Lubbock and College Station, as well as 26 cities in Bexar County, excluding San Antonio.

The bill is currently pending in the House Transportation Committee. Go here to track its progress.


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