Tags: uber | lyft | austin | ride | sharing

Uber-Lyft Austin Speed Bump: No Rides in Hippest Texas Town

Image: Uber-Lyft Austin Speed Bump: No Rides in Hippest Texas Town

University of Texas at Austin. (UT)

By    |   Monday, 09 May 2016 12:53 PM

Ride sharing companies Uber and Lyft suspended their service in Austin on Monday after voters there rejected a proposal to roll back a city ordinance requiring that drivers be fingerprinted and comply with other rules.

The seat of Texas state government, home of the 50,000-student University of Texas and a thriving cultural, music and arts scene had more than 100,000 regular ride sharers.

Uber and Lyft spent $8.6 million on their attempt to overturn the city’s rules with Proposition 1, which was defeated soundly at the polls on Saturday, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

“Uber, I think, decided they were going to make Austin an example to the nation,” political consultant David Butts, who led the anti-Prop 1 campaign told the newspaper. “And Austin made Uber an example to the nation.”

In December, the city council approved an ordinance that requires drivers with ride-hailing apps to comply with rules that require fingerprint-based background checks, prohibit drivers from stopping in traffic lanes, require identifiable markings on vehicles for hire, and impose reporting requirements, the American-Statesman said.

Uber, which began operations in Austin in 2014, had 10,000 drivers and 500,000 riders in the city, USA Today reported.

"Disappointment does not begin to describe about how we feel about shutting down operations in Austin," Chris Nakutis, Uber's general manager in the city, said in a statement, according to USA Today.

“Our City, Our Safety, Our Choice,” a campaign opposing the proposition, gained widespread support despite raising only $88,000, KXAN-TV reported.

“It had a lot of community support from organizations, as well as individuals who just stood up and said, ‘We’re not gonna allow multi-billion dollar corporations to write their own rules here in Austin, Texas. That’s not the way Austin works,'” Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo told the station. “As I talked to voters at the polls and on the phones, many of them like Uber’s service and Lyft’s, they use it, but they drew the line at allowing them to write their own rules. And that’s really significant.”

Similar debates have taken place in Houston, which also requires fingerprinting; San Antonio, where the ride-share companies left temporarily and returned after fingerprinting was made voluntary; and Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, where similar regulation are being considered, NPR reported.

Twitter users shared mixed reactions to vote.


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Ride sharing companies Uber and Lyft suspended service in Austin on Monday after voters there rejected a proposal to roll back a city ordinance requiring that drivers be fingerprinted and comply with other rules.
uber, lyft, austin, ride, sharing
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2016-53-09
Monday, 09 May 2016 12:53 PM
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