Rideshare drivers under added scrutiny during ACL

Austin City Limits_354958

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The kickoff to the Austin City Limits music festival is just hours away. Along with the excitement, have come questions about transportation options after Uber and Lyft’s departure.

KXAN met with the Austin Transportation Department (ATD), which tells us this weekend, it’s all hands on deck to make sure rideshare drivers are playing by city rules.

On the eve of ACL, the transportation department says it had lines out the door.

“We are going to have ample service,” Lee Davila, with ATD said, addressing concerns about a lack of transportation options to meet demand. “We have an over-abundance of people getting their permits this week for TNCs. An over-abundance we haven’t seen in some time. We had over 60 drivers come to get their permits on Monday, an additional 50 on Tuesday, today there was a line outside of the office of people wanting to get their permits.”

It’s an influx the department says it prepared for after taking coordination efforts to a “whole new level,” working closely with rideshare companies and Austin police to discuss public safety efforts.

This year, rideshare drivers stationed at the Austin High School must be fingerprinted in order to wait in the parking lot for riders. A prime location transportation department officials will be enforcing.

“Kind of a nicety that we’re offering to those drivers that went through the process of becoming fingerprinted,” Davila explained. “We’re taking steps to make sure we’re not only ensuring safety in the parking lot areas for fingerprinted drivers only but that we’re maintaining some safety within Barton Springs Road, so we’ll actually have officers throughout the whole area.”

ATD will be checking to make sure drivers are permitted and pick up and drop off in designated locations to keep traffic moving. As for riders, “We don’t want community members to be hailing a taxi or calling for a rideshare programs in the right of way,” Davila said.

The transportation department strongly encourages festival-goers to get out of the Zilker Park area before trying to hail a taxi or rideshare, warning cell phone reception is low. This will also help alleviate congestion in the area.

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