We sure are lucky that the Lake Travis area is such a great place to live with so many awesome things to do right here in our backyard. Especially now that we can’t get out.
These days, if you’re making plans to leave your home without your car, chances are you have a driver. And that’s not because you’re fancy-schmancy … it’s because you have limited options.
Have you tried to catch a cab lately? Good luck with that.
It’s funny how the Hailacab (Yellow Cab) app indicates you only have a quick 15 minute wait and then when you book it, the wait jumps to 45 minutes or it says there’s no service at all in your area. Hmmm. Now what?
Before Uber and Lyft ventured out west, you could (responsibly) choose not to drive and easily get stranded for hours due to the lack of taxis in the Lake Travis area.
Even if you were at a seemingly popular spot like The Oasis on a seemingly popular night like Friday. Being stranded once is enough to teach you that twice is too much.
The Uber honeymoon
When Uber arrived in Lake Travis, safe, reliable and affordable transportation was a game-changer. Anything was possible, even enjoying a night downtown. Restaurants. Concerts. Shows. Bars. Rodeos. Date nights. Parties. A trip to the airport. Life without driving your own car was possible. Hooray!
On May 7, 2016, the nifty and thrifty concept of ridesharing went buh-bye in Austin. Why?
To make a very long story short, local government wanted mandatory fingerprinting for all Uber and Lyft drivers in an attempt to better ensure safer travels in the Austin community.
Plus, Austin’s city council wanted to change the way ridesharing companies charged fees among other things.
It’s worth noting, Uber and Lyft do run national background checks on their employees, just not fingerprint-based checks that run through the FBI database.
Perplexed by Prop 1
If you voted or followed the pre-vote buzz, you already know Prop 1 was convoluted to say the least.
Voters had trouble understanding what their votes meant.
If you voted YES to the ordinance, that was a vote to keep ridesharing.
If you voted NO, that was a vote for fingerprinting, operation rules, dynamic fees, etc.
If you wanted ridesharing, you wanted to vote for the ordinance.
And since the word “ordinance” seems like it has a negative connotation, people voted against it.
Clear as mud, right?
How does this affect Lake Travis?
The city of Bee Cave and the city of Lakeway didn’t vote because legislation ends at the Austin city limits. While Uber and Lyft left Austin, they did stay in the suburbs.
So what does this mean for Lake Travis area residents?
- You can get an Uber in Lake Travis and travel into Austin, but you can’t get one in Austin to travel back to the Lake Travis area.
- Many drivers and groups have taken to Facebook and Lakeway Swap to offer you safe and reliable rides around town.
Return of ridesharing
But there may be a ridesharing light at the end of the road.
Austin City Council’s attempt to regulate Uber and Lyft has caught the attention of lawmakers like State Senator Charles Schwertner of Georgetown, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. He’s not very happy about Austin’s decision to push out Uber and Lyft and he may just get some traction.
Schwertner promises to bring a proposal to the Legislature when it convenes in January. If this happens, Prop 1 could be superseded by the state of Texas and Uber may be back in the game.