You may have heard: Austin no longer has ridesharing. Ridesharing, popularized by services such as Uber and Lyft, has allowed individuals to get around without using their own car or public transportation, while spending much less money than with a taxi.
It has also helped create employment for thousands upon thousands of individuals. 10,000 of those who were using Uber or Lyft as a primary or secondary source of income were located in Austin itself.
The reason for the change in policy emanated from a vote on Prop 1, which mandated that drivers go through fingerprint background checks in addition to criminal background checks. Popular ridesharing apps voluntarily left Austin upon the passing of the proposition.
Just implemented on May 7th, the outcome of this legislation has already started to become evident. Many individuals who used rideshare services have simply begun to contact former drivers through social media and Craigslist.
In other words, a black market for ridesharing has arisen. This not only presents dangers that Prop 1 was trying to prevent, but it violates the law. Austin has warned potential drivers that they could face fines in the vicinity of $500 if they don’t possess the proper permits and documentation.
The outrage amongst some Austinites has reached a tipping point. Social media has been flooded with people voicing their dissatisfaction. One unscientifically-based study of 2,090 individuals found that 63 percent of individuals modified their plans last weekend because of the lack of a ride.
Other cities have already banned or have proposed to ban Uber and Lyft, so it will be important to follow similar stories as they develop.