A taxi reform ordinance, expected to be passed today by the Austin City Council, instead was postponed until a June 28 council meeting.
Council Member Greg Casar this week has proposed more than half a dozen amendments, and opposition from the taxi community had heated up in the days leading up to today’s meeting. Given that, city officials made a late recommendation to give the proposal a couple of more weeks of consideration.
The ordinance’s centerpiece is what amounts to deregulation of taxi rates, along with removing a cap on the size of fleets put on the street by Austin’s four taxi franchises. The point is to put the cab industry, which has seen a 76 percent falloff in rides over the past year, on a more competitive footing with ride hailing companies.
However, leaders of Austin Cab and Yellow Cab on Wednesday had come out against all or parts of the ordinance.
John Bouloubasis, president of Texas Taxi, Yellow Cab’s parent company, said in a letter to the council Wednesday that the complete deregulation of taxi rates would be “detrimental to both the consumer and the independent contractor driver.”
His company recommends allowing the franchise holders to raise or lower the current rates by up to 20 percent.