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Uber, Lyft Pause Austin Operations after Self-Regulation Bill Fails

Austin-area voters rejected a proposal by ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft to self-regulate their drivers, mandating stricter rules like fingerprint background checks and car emblems.

Fifty-six percent of voters opposed the proposition, according to election results.

“The people have spoken loud and clear,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said in a statement. “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.”

Both companies released statements Saturday, stating their intentions to shut down their operations in the city by Monday.

“Lyft and Austin are a perfect match and we want to stay in the city,” Lyft said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the rules passed don’t allow true ride sharing to operate. 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. Because of this, we have to take a stand for a long-term path forward that lets ride sharing continue to grow across the country.”

Uber will suspend its operations by 8 a.m. Monday.

“Disappointment does not begin to describe how we feel about shutting down operations in Austin,” Uber Austin general manager Chris Nakutis said. “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.”

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