Austin Addresses Illegal SXSW Transportation
Updated: Monday, March 11 2013, 12:42 PM CDT
South by Southwest is expected to attract more than 300,000 people. With that comes the need for more transportation in Austin.
The City of Austin is expecting thousands of taxis, charters and buses for the event.
Under city ordinance, each taxi is required to be permitted to operate.
Eli Flores is a driver for Austin Strolls. He is in the process of getting two of his vans permitted.
"I've gotten calls from hotels and restaurants because they are going to have people visiting and they are going to need more transportation," said Flores.
He tells us it has been taking weeks and he wants to follow the law. "They are making it extremely difficult right now," said Flores.
Right now there are more than 1,700 permits have been issued. We're told for only 27 temporary permits have been handed out for SXSW.
Assistant Director of Austin Transportation Gordon Derr anticipated some companies will operate illegally.
"A lot of these opportunities are coming up over the internet so we watch those on a daily basis to see what people are going to be doing," said Derr.
SideCar is one of those services without a permit. The ride-matching app claims to match people with a person who has extra space in his or her car. It’s said to be donation based.
The city warns if they see them they will be handing out fines and possibly impounding vehicles.
"We will have vehicle regulators out, we will have parking enforcement, we will have right of way," said Derr.
The city says ordinance is in place to protect the customer. They do background checks, inspect the vehicles and make sure all the drivers have insurance, registrations and a license.
City Council is looking at regulating ride-sharing services.
By Christie Post