AUSTIN, Texas — Big changes are now in place for Austin's cab industry.

The move, according to Council members, was designed to allow the city's four taxi franchises to better compete with ride-hailing apps like Uber.

Instead of the city setting taxi rates, the companies themselves will be able to set their own prices and those rates are required to be posted on their websites and in the cabs.

The big protection for riders is that they must agree to the cab fare before the trip starts.

Austin transportation officials admit city rules enacted in 2016 created a windfall for cab companies after Uber and Lyft left.

"When those companies returned to Austin, however, we saw a 75-percent decline in their number of trips. We felt it necessary to step in and do something to help them compete with those TNCs,” said Jacob Culberson, Austin Transportation Department.

A new requirement allows the city to ask for a cab's GPS information at any time.