May 14, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Austin, TX – Uber and Lyft suspended operations in Austin, Texas May 9, two days after city voters rejected their bid to repeal regulations enacted by the city last December.
The rules require fingerprinting of rideshare drivers, prohibit them from stopping in lanes of traffic to pick up or drop off passengers, and say for-hire vehicles must be marked by more than a temporary logo. The two companies spent $8.6 million, more than seven times the record for a local election, on the repeal campaign, but 56% of voters opposed their Proposition 1 ballot initiative. “You can elect governors in other states for that much money,” said political consultant David Butts, who led the anti-repeal campaign, which raised less than $200,000. “We set an example for the rest of the nation: Stand up to these guys.” Austin’s police, fire, and emergency-medical-services unions all opposed repeal, citing safety concerns. Read more