What’s next, now that Uber and Lyft have left Austin? True to their word, Uber and Lyft had both ceased operating in Austin by 8 am Monday morning, following the defeat of Proposition 1. One hour later, at 9am, the office of Austin mayor Steve Adler issued the following plan of action:
1. We (Austin’s administration – ed.) remain open to talking with Uber and Lyft whether they are operating in Austin or not.
2. We are working to help TNC’s that operate in Austin to be successful. There is going to be greater demand than service for a period of time. We ask the community to show some patience.
3. We are exploring a local non-profit TNC with Austin entrepreneurs.
4. We are working toward the pool of fingerprinted drivers (with the support of the city or through a third party such as Thumb’s Up).
5. We are working with Cap Metro and others to find solutions for seniors, people with disabilities, and other members of the community in need.
6. We are working to develop ground transportation regulations that do not pick winners and losers.
7. We are working toward expanding the full range of transportation options.
“As listed above, the City will participate in offering an enhanced one-stop shop for drivers to complete fingerprint-based background checks. If Uber and/or Lyft stay, this will facilitate them having fingerprinted drivers. The City’s expedited process will also help drivers expand their work opportunities to other TNCs and minimize any disruption that may be caused if Uber and Lyft are not operating in Austin.”
For the full statement by Austin mayor Steve Adler, go here:
Uber operations continue at this time, in the suburbs surrounding Austin. Riders seeking transportation into Austin from outside the city limits can still get an Uber ride into town, although the reverse is not true. Uber drivers cannot pick up passengers in the city of Austin
This situation is similar to the one in San Antonio a year ago, when Uber left San Antonio on April 1, 2015 for a period of just over 6 months but continued operating in the suburbs. Eventually, a deal was worked out with the City of San Antonio, in October of that year, allowing Uber to operate in San Antonio without mandatory fingerprint background checks for their drivers. Austin mayor Steve Adler has been pushing for a similar measure for some time, which would allow voluntary fingerprint background checks as an alternative to mandatory fingerprint background checks.
When asked yesterday if they had been in contact with Uber and/or Lyft since Saturday’s vote, Mayor Steve Adler’s office declined to comment, according to a report in the Austin Business Journal. And by the end of the business day in Austin Kai Ryssdal, closing out last night’s Marketplace show on NPR, noted that Austin has now become the biggest city in the US without Uber service.