On Thursday, Austin Mayor Steve Adler testified before the House Committee on Transportation. The topic? House Bill 100 -- a statewide framework for Transportation Network Companies.
"What I want to stress most to folks is this is not about an individual city, an individual company, anything of that nature. This is about 27 plus million people that live in the state of Texas," said State Representative Chris Paddie from Marshall who authored the bill.
"To fingerprint...or not to fingerprint?" Paddie says that's a big part of the discussion.
"I think it's really important for people to understand that right now in the United States, 37 states and Washington DC have statewide models. None of them contain fingerprinting in them," Paddie said.
"I would urge you to allow or even require not that someone does fingerprinting but they put people on notice in a transparent way as who the drivers are that are or are not fingerprinted like is done in San Antonio," Adler said during his testimony.
Adler passed out copies of an MOU agreement signed by Uber and Lyft last year -- an agreement that Adler says was never finalized because of the special-election last May.
"Because they agreed to certain things in there. The incentive program, they agreed to trade dress and I just wanted the committee to know that," Adler said.
Council Member Ellen Troxclair was never on board with her council colleagues on TNC's. She came to the Capitol to testify in support of HB 100.
"I want to speak to the fact that our Police Chief absolutely said that the City of Austin is safer with as many ridesharing providers as possible including Uber and Lyft here than without. I want to speak to the fact that CapMetro, the largest public transportation provider in our city does not require fingerprint-based background checks," Troxclair said.
In Uber and Lyft's absence from Austin there are 7 TNC's operating in the city right now. State Representative Ron Simmons from Carrolton asked the Mayor and city staffer Lee Davila about whether those companies are complying with the city's own accessibility requirements.
Davila says after three months of getting an operating license a TNC must put an accessible service request indicator on the app and after six months the company has to provide an accessibility plan to the city. According to a city memo from March 8, a company called "Tride" hasn't done any of that.
"At this moment we have one company that isn't compliant with the three month or the six month and they are operating at this moment.," Davila said.
"Why would they be operating if they can't comply to help the citizens that most are vulnerable in this scenario?" Simmons asked.
Davila says they have been trying to give them every opportunity to comply.
"I think we're reaching that point where it's been a year and now we're examining what our options are in regards to applying punitive..." Davila said.
"Well I think the option would be: shut down their app and get them out of the city if they can't comply," Simmons said.
The City says Tride told them they plan to be in compliance with the three-month benchmark tomorrow. So we'll see if that happens.
Tride also hasn't paid their fees to the City of Austin, according to that memo. Their drivers are 100 percent in compliance with the fingerprinting though.
We did try to get ahold of Tride for a comment and had no luck as of 5 p.m. Thursday night.