A few days ago, ridesharing giants Uber and Lyft took a major lost after losing in a municipal election held in Austin, Texas. The election involved the State of Texas (Travis County) versus Uber & Lyft with regards to their Prop. 1 (a plan to enforce finger background checks for all Uber and Lyft drivers).
The city issued Prop. 1 over concerns of Uber drivers sexually assaulting or committing criminal activity upon customers, primarily women. Uber and Lyft’s defense was that they each require an extensive national background check and that a finger background check would be too timely to get drivers to qualify and too costly for both respective companies.
After the results came in on Friday, an estimated $9 Million was spent on the campaign to rally against the county to keep Uber and Lyft (making this the most costly municipal election in Texas history). Unfortunately, both TNC’s (transportation network companies) fell short losing 44% to 56%. As a result, both ridesharing companies will be stopping their business in Austin as of next week.
As a fellow Texan and Uber user, I think this will be a major lost for University of Texas and St. Edwards students who reside in Austin. Many of the students as well as younger generation utilize Uber and Lyft to go out without worrying about designated drivers. Especially with bar crawling spots like 6th Street, it’s going to be interesting to see how younger adults handle not having Uber and Lyft around in the state’s capital.
On the hand, however, I can see how a few bad incident’s hurt Uber and Lyft’s brand and cause lack of trust worthiness in the eye of public safety. Regardless of how I think about this situation, one thing is for certain; Austin’s victory over Uber and Lyft could be the foreshadowing of many other major cities requiring the same ordinances which would be a total meltdown for the billion dollar companies.