Harry here. Big news broke over the weekend that Uber and Lyft are leaving Austin, Texas. Today, RSG senior contributor Christian Perea breaks down exactly what went wrong and why Uber and Lyft are such sore losers when it comes to dealing with the government.
Over the weekend, 56% of Austin citizens rejected a proposition put forward by Uber and Lyft to overturn local TNC un-friendly regulations. Proposition 1 would have repealed a city ordinance enacted by the Austin City Council in December to require mandatory fingerprint-based background checks of all TNC drivers. The December ordinance also required the display of trade dress on vehicles, prohibited stopping in traffic lanes to pickup or drop-off passengers, and the sharing of some data with the city.
In the months leading up to the vote, Lyft and Uber formed a Political Action Committee called “Ridesharing Works for Austin” and poured a little over $9 million into it so they could carpet bomb the airwaves with messages to support their measure and send the city legislature packing with their tails between their legs. In contrast, the PAC against Proposition 1 only managed to raise $100,000. It didn’t matter though, because Uber and Lyft lost anyways.