Fourth Estate Staff
Austin, TX, United States (4E) – Ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft are planning to suspend their services in Austin after voters in Texas’ tech hub failed to adapt a ballot measure for them.
Uber and Lyft were required to have new rules such as fingerprinting of drivers but they argued that these requirements make it hard for them to continue to follow their business models. The possible suspension of services is seen as a victory for the taxi industry as they see ride-sharing services hurting their business in Austin.
Uber announced that they will be ceasing operations in Austin by Monday at 8 A.M. Uber’s general manager, Chris Nakutis , said in a statement, “Disappointment does not begin to describe about how we feel about shutting down operations in Austin.” Uber also said that they started operations in Austin in October of 2014 and has signed up 10,000 drivers. Also, 500,000 riders have downloaded the company’s app to request pickup. Uber has also threatened to pull out of Houston as they also require fingerprinting.
Lyft , on the other hand, said that the rules passed by the city council does not allow “true ridesharing to operate.” The company added, “Instead, they make it harder for part-time drivers, the heart of Lyft’s peer-to-peer model, to get on the road and harder for passengers to get a ride. They also said that they hope the “pause” in their operations in Austin will show that they are taking a stand in defense of app-based ridesharing .
Austin is not yet certain about their estimate on how the absence of the ride-hailing companies will be affecting the city’s traffic. This was stated by Jason Stanford, the spokesman for Austin Mayor Steve Adler. Stanford and Adler said that they want Uber and Lyft to stay and they are welcome if they want to figure the requirements out. Accordingly, the town is better with the two ridesharing companies.
Ann Kitchen, the councilwoman who led the fight for more regulation over Uber and Lyft , said that the city will work with any transportation providers who will abide by their rules.