Five stories that have North Texas talking: A Dallas start-up is ready to take the wheel in Austin if Uber and Lyft leave; Fort Worth ISD allows its students to use the bathroom consistent with their gender of choice; and more.
With the defeat of Proposition 1 on Saturday, Uber and Lyft will no longer service Austin, according to threats made by both companies before the citywide vote.
The nearly six-month battle between the ride-sharing companies and the city ended with about 56 percent of people voting against an ordinance that would have allowed Uber and Lyft drivers to operate without background checks, identification on their cars or limitations on where they could pick up or drop off passengers, according to KUT and The Texas Tribune.
As for North Texas, the defeat is a lesson learned for Fort Worth and a business opportunity for Dallas. According to Fort Worth Star-Telegram, city officials most likely will leave the companies alone. “Mayor Betsy Price said it’s the council’s duty to facilitate business, not regulate businesses out of the city.”
“This has turned into a political hot potato in far too many communities,” Price said. “We don’t want to get there in Fort Worth. I’m not sure we can regulate them under the same ordinance … or else we get out of regulating any of them. The city doesn’t need to regulate a lot of this. It’s market-driven.”
As for Dallas, Get Me, the small-but-mighty ride-sharing and delivery service that launched last year, plans to recruit drivers left behind in Austin, The Dallas Morning News reported. The service operates in Dallas, Austin, Houston and Las Vegas and most recently, Galveston and Corpus Christi, “two places that Uber abandoned because of policies requiring fingerprint background checks,” according to The Morning News.
In Houston, requiring fingerprints pushed Lyft out of the city, and Uber threatened to leave last month, The Tribune reported. In Texas, Uber is unregulated in Waco, Amarillo and Killeen, according to the Star-Telegram. [KUT, The Texas Tribune, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Dallas Morning News]
- Fort Worth ISD allows students to use bathroom of their choice. The debate over transgender bathrooms has come to a head in recent weeks following the passing of a controversial bill in North Carolina as well as the failed attempt to install similar restrictions in Rockwall. But for Fort Worth Independent School District, the policy has been active since an April 19 board meeting. Students are able to use the bathroom consistent with “the gender identity that each student consistently and uniformly asserts.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported: “Guidelines recently established by Superintendent Kent Scribner now require school officials to offer students like Jessica access to a single-stall restroom or the opportunity to use a restroom when no other students are present.” Read more. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- Experience some of your favorite classic Texas films with these road trip guides. Texas Monthly curated a Texas movie buff’s perfect road trip. Take "The Last Picture Show," Peter Bogdanovich's 1971 critically acclaimed film based on Larry McMurtry’s semi-autobiographical novel. Follow that film, and you’ll be heading to Archer City, McMurtry’s hometown, staying at The Spur Hotel, eating chicken fried steak at Murn’s Cafe and stopping by the city’s historical museum, housed in the old jail. Take your pick from "Fandango" (1985), "Dazed & Confused" (1993) or "Selena" (1997), or be inspired to create your own cinematic getaway. [Texas Monthly]
- Texas is squandering its solar energy potential. Solar panels on homes, businesses and large-scale farms could generate 22 percent of the state’s electricity every year, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Solar capacity is increasing in the state, Dallas Observer reported, but it’s not accounting for much — 534 of the state's almost 72,000 megawatts of generating capacity, or 0.7 percent. “Because of the gap between reality and potential, and because Texas has largely left it up to the free market to shrink the gap, the Center for Biological Diversity recently gave Texas an 'F' for solar policy in its "Throwing Shade" report on states with large untapped potential for rooftop solar.” Read what Texas could be doing better. [Dallas Observer]
- One does not simply become a Texan just by being born here. According to the new book, “How To Be Texan: A Manual” by Andrea Valdez, there’s a signature walk and talk to being Texan. Valdez told Texas Standard a few ways to adopt the lifestyle, like speaking Spanglish, encountering rattlesnakes and incorporating belt buckles into your wardrobe. There’s a lot more where that came from — the book is 207 pages. Get started with the radio interview. [Texas Standard]