Three bills have been filed so far in the 85th Texas Legislature, regular session, addressing transportation network companies, frequently referred to as ride-hailing or (less accurately) as ridesharing. The bills are
- SB 113 Relating to the provision of and local regulation of certain for-hire passenger transportation.
- SB 176 Relating to the regulation of transportation network companies; requiring an occupational permit; authorizing a fee.
- SB 361 Relating to transportation network companies.
SB 113 and SB 176 have been referred to the Senate Business and Commerce Committee. SB 361 is expected to follow when it is referred to committee.
SB 133 prohibits municipalities from regulating any vehicles for hire (including taxis) and imposes minimal state-level regulation in its place. SB 176 and SB 361 also remove municipal authority over TNCs but introduce state level regulation. There are differences between the latter two (permit fees, for example), but the provisions of both bills are similar to those passed in other states. SB 361 further clarifies that TNCs are not motor carriers and, thus, not regulated under the motor carrier statutes.
The following analysis was prepared by Maarit Moran, TTI Associate Transportation Researcher.
85R Texas Legislative Session – Proposed TNC Bills
AN ACT relating to the provision of and local regulation of certain for-hire passenger transportation.
- Focuses on Regulatory and Rule-Making Authority – This bill would replace the existing section that granted municipalities the right to “license, control, and otherwise regulate” private taxicab transportation services with one that says municipalities may not regulate taxis, limousines, car services or TNCs.
- Adds ride-sourcing and taxi driver to the list of jobs that individuals subject to the sex offenders registration program cannot do (in the Code of Criminal Procedure (Title 1), Chapter 62. SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION PROGRAM).
Title/Sections Affected: Subtitle A, Title 7, Local Government Code – Chapter 215, Subchapter A (Regulation by Municipalities in General), Section 215.004 is renamed: Regulation Of Taxicabs, [And] Limousines, Transportation Network Companies, And Other For-Hire Transportation Prohibited. Also amends Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 62.063(b).
AN ACT relating to transportation network companies.
- Addresses Regulatory and Rule-Making Authority – This bill would make TNC regulation the “exclusive power and function of this state” but does not impact the current authority of municipalities to regulate taxis (in section 215).
- Addresses insurance, driver requirements, operational and safety requirements (see chart).
- Addresses motor carrier status: “Transportation network companies and drivers logged in to the company’s digital network are not common carriers, contract carriers, or motor carriers.” Section 649.002
Title/Sections Affected: Subtitle F, Title 7, Transportation Code, is amended to read as follows: Subtitle F. Commercial Motor Vehicles and Personal Vehicles Used for Commercial Purposes. Subtitle F, Title 7, Transportation Code, is amended by adding Chapter 649 to read as follows: Chapter 649. Transportation Network Companies.
AN ACT relating to the regulation of transportation network companies; requiring an occupational permit; authorizing a fee.
- Addresses Regulatory and Rule-Making Authority – This bill states that TNCs are “governed exclusively by this chapter” and a municipality would not be able to impose taxes, licensing, or other requirements.
- Requires a permit with an annual fee (cost ranges from $10,000 to $125,000 based on number of drivers).
- Addresses permits and fees, driver requirements, and operational and safety requirements (see chart).
- Does not address motor carrier status.
Title/Sections Affected: Subtitle C, Title 14, Occupations Code, is amended by adding Chapter 2402 to read as follows: Chapter 2402. Transportation Network Companies.
Steven Polunsky is a TTI research scientist.