Voters in Texas Tell Uber and Lyft to Shove It

Kai Flaffenbach/Reuters
Kai Flaffenbach/Reuters

Voters in Austin, Texas, decisively rejected a proposal by Uber and Lyft to relax regulations on their companies. They have now responded that they are “pausing” operations there.

The Austin City Council voted in December that drivers for such companies would have to pass background checks that include fingerprinting. Uber and Lyft threatened to leave the city over the regulation.

The companies pitched a ballot measure asking voters to adopt more relaxed regulations.

NPR reported that the two vehicle lift companies put more than $8 million in their campaign to promote Proposition 1. “Despite spending what amounted to $200 on each vote in their favor, Uber and Lyft lost by 44 to 56,” NPR’s John Burnett said.

Austin based KUT radio reported that Uber’s Austin general manager Chris Nakutis said, “Disappointment does not begin to describe how we feel about shutting down operations in Austin. We hope the City Council will reconsider their ordinance so we can work together to make the streets of Austin a safer place for everyone.”

The station reported that Lyft provided the following response. “Lyft and Austin are a perfect match and we want to stay in the city. Unfortunately, the rules passed by City Council don’t allow true ridesharing to operate.” The company continued, “Because of this, we have to take a stand for a long-term path forward that lets ridesharing continue to grow across the country, and will pause operations in Austin on Monday, May 9th.”

The response to both the vote, and the ride-lift companies’ retort has been mixed:

Others had consoling messages:

KVUE News in Austin tweeted a list of other transportation options:

The positive correlation to the availability of ride companies and the number of DUIs in Austin was also a subject of social media discussion:

Austin Mayor Steve Adler was reported to have responded, “The people have spoken tonight loud and clear. Uber and Lyft are welcome to stay in Austin, and I invite them to the table regardless. Austin is an innovative and creative city, and we’ll need to be at our most creative and innovative now.”

Service is reported to still be available outside of the Austin City limits:

Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and associate judge. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2


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