In the Austin Statesman newspaper today was an article about "Ride Austin" which is a non-profit startup to provide Uber-like rides in Austin. As you may know, Uber and Lyft pulled out of Austin and some other Texas cities because of ordinances passed by cities requiring fingerprints and background checks for drivers (a reasonable requirement it seems to me for rider safety).
At any rate, some of the technology businesses/IT gurus have joined together to form a non-profit ride-share program which complies with Austin's new ordinance. Ride Austin intends to pay drivers a little more than other ride-sharing companies since Ride Austin is "non-profit" plus they will give riders the option to "round up" to make an even amount for the fare and the difference between the actual fare and the "rounding up" will be donated to local charities and/or used to provide free rides to low-income riders and elders.
I sent an email today to a representative of Ride Austin asking whether Arlington might participate somehow using Ride Austin's technology. Since they've just started up, I doubt they're willing to bite off Arlington now, but I said I will be in Austin for a different meeting in September, and would like to sit down to talk with them about the possibilities then. I said that I am confident that some grant money could be found to offset Ride Austin's costs to include Arlington.
Cross your fingers. We're not going to get a bus system in Arlington for reasons that I understand better than I used to, but ride-sharing could be the answer to our transportation issues (and a non-profit sounds almost too good to be true).
Here is a link to the article in the Austin Statesman newspaper or you can Google "Ride Austin" for more media stories about the new service in Austin. http://1.usa.gov/1Qc3T25
Elva Roy is the Lead Ambassador of the all-volunteer group "Ambassadors For Aging Well" which meets in Arlington, Texas.