Uber and Lyft “pause” Austin operations in standoff over regulation
As we speak, Uber and Lyft took their journey hailing providers offline in Austin, Texas, leaving drivers scrambling for different means of creating revenue, and riders stranded or looking for one other mode of transportation.
Right here’s why: this week, Austin voters upheld a rule that may require Uber, Lyft and different transportation community corporations there to do fingerprint-based mostly background checks of their drivers.
The Basic Supervisor for Uber Austin, Chris Nakutis, issued a press release after the vote:
“Disappointment doesn’t start to explain how we really feel about shutting down operations in Austin…We hope the Metropolis Council will rethink their ordinance so we will work collectively to make the streets of Austin a safer place for everybody.”
The ordinance he’s speaking about additionally requires drivers for Uber, Lyft and others to obviously label their automobiles with an organization emblem, and chorus from choosing up and dropping off passengers in sure metropolis lanes.
And a spokesperson from Lyft issued an analogous assertion:
“…The principles handed by Metropolis Council don’t permit true ridesharing to function. As an alternative, they make it more durable for half-time drivers, the guts of Lyft’s peer-to-peer mannequin, to get on the street and more durable for passengers to get a experience. Due to this, we now have to take a stand…and can pause operations in Austin on Monday, Might ninth.”
Each Uber and Lyft lobbied exhausting in Austin, spending greater than $eight million on their efforts. However that didn’t handle to sway voters.
Entrepreneurs who reside and work in Austin, Dane Jensen and Noah Lee, the co-founders of subscription commerce startup Sock Membership, are involved that with out Uber and Lyft, drunk driving charges will improve of their metropolis.
They’re additionally frightened that residents and guests gained’t have a simple method to get round, particularly on wet days when individuals are reluctant to journey a motorcycle.
Sock Membership CTO Jensen stated, “I’m not likely sure what fingerprinting brings to the desk when it comes to enhancing security for shoppers, however I’m glad our group will get a say in how these corporations are allowed to function.”
Lee added, “There was no lack of information about what was occurring, however Austin nonetheless voted this manner. I don’t know the place Uber or Lyft ought to draw the road with native authorities. However there are undoubtedly not sufficient cabs or public transit choices to deal with all the demand with out them.”
Maybe one other journey hailing firm will implement fingerprint-based mostly background checks, and transfer in on Uber and Lyft’s territory. Conventional taxi corporations already conduct fingerprint-based mostly background checks on their drivers.
For its half, Lyft has 10,000 Austin-based mostly drivers who can be in search of new methods to generate revenue throughout this so-referred to as “pause” in operations. Uber has not but disclosed the variety of drivers utilizing its app in Austin.