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Transportation Businesses The Almighty Buck Politics

Uber and Lyft Spend $8.2 Million To Lose Fingerprint Election, Vow To Leave Austin ( 335

On Saturday voters in Austin, Texas refused to repeal a new regulation that requires fingerprinting drivers for ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. In Austin's most expensive election ever, the ride-sharing services spent over $8.2 million pushing Proposition 1, apparently outspending their opponents by a 80:1 ratio. But on election day, the proposal to repeal ultimately received just 39,083 votes -- 44% of the total cast -- meaning the lobbyists spent $209 for each vote received. Both services have said they will cease operations in Austin rather than perform the fingerprint-based criminal background checks.
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Uber and Lyft Spend $8.2 Million To Lose Fingerprint Election, Vow To Leave Austin

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  • Waste of money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by etinin ( 1144011 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <sairafberdnaxela>> on Sunday May 08, 2016 @02:37PM (#52071515)
    They could rather have spent this kind of money performing the actual background checks.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I'm glad they fought this law, but not because I case about Uber. The Stasi had nothing on the level of surveillance being done in modern America.
      • Re:Waste of money (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 08, 2016 @06:06PM (#52072373)

        I am very much a libertarian sort of person, but I don't agree with Uber and Lyft on this one. That they should spend so much money to avoid conducting the most basic level of a serious background check makes me wonder if the are trying for willful blindness. A bogus background check just asks you to say who you are, and then they check your name. By requiring fingerprinting, Austin is helping to insure that individuals aren't side-stepping a criminal past.

        It is fairly easy to get fake credentials such as name and SS#, and pass yourself off as someone else. Admittedly, someone could fake or alter their fingerprints, but it is more durable. It is also less intrusive than a DNA check, which I would oppose, even though it might catch a few more people than fingerprints alone.

        I don't believe there should be unlimited "liberty" for those who are going to have another person alone in their vehicle, for hire.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          A libertarian would be for an absence of checks, but increased penalties for violating them. Have the Uber driver sign that they have no criminal past (no check needed, no work by the gvt), but if someone is found to have lied, pull their license, and black-list them from doing it again (subsequent infractions punished by jail time). That's a more libertarian mechanism.
          • Re:Waste of money (Score:5, Insightful)

            by art123 ( 309756 ) on Sunday May 08, 2016 @09:54PM (#52073013)

            And that is why the libertarian mechanism does not always work. Oh, you lied about having 10 DWIs and now you just killed your passenger and yourself? Well, that's it! You are blacklisted and can never drive for Uber again. Take that.

        • by thesupraman ( 179040 ) on Monday May 09, 2016 @01:17AM (#52073695)

          So, what you are saying is that private jobs with any public risk should require recorded fingerprints, and perhaps other personal data also?
          I can imagine that extends to a goodly percentage of occupations..

          I can only assume that right now all people working bus, taxi, aircraft, ferry, etc services in the US are fingerprinted?
          Also all doctors, nurses, teachers, etc? pretty high risks there.
          Better throw in all construction workers, and others in situations where equipment drops, etc could kill others.
          Must come in damn useful when you need to unlock their iphones ;) in fact, we better make it mandatory
          for phone ownership....

          I am sure thats just a tip of the iceberg, but think of the children!

          Because, as we know, registered taxi drivers have never committed crimes against passengers, and this is not all part
          of a buggy-whip protectionist racket.

          However, on the flip side, can we PLEASE stop calling these minicab services ride-sharing, and convince the rest of the
          world that minicab is the correct term, as used in the UK? That in itself would address 90% of the issues.

      • I doubt that. Sure, the TLAs can read your emails and can tap into your cellphone conversations. The Stasi, on the other hand, had personally present spies everywhere so you couldn't speak up even in private because no matter where you were, there was a good chance that someone was listening. If there was any kind of organized event or trip there was pretty much a 100% chance that a Stasi spy was present.

        So no, I don't think that modern day America is that bad. It's still appalling and undignified, though
    • Re:Waste of money (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SvnLyrBrto ( 62138 ) on Sunday May 08, 2016 @03:49PM (#52071825)

      There is the old saying: "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute.". If Uber and Lyft let themselves get bullied into submission in one place, doesn't that set the precedent for it to happen everywhere? Hell, Google even left the largest market in the world when pushed too far. And we celebrated that move.

    • Re:Waste of money (Score:5, Informative)

      by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Sunday May 08, 2016 @04:43PM (#52072079)

      They already do perform background checks.

      Make no mistake, this had nothing to do with "safety" on the party of the City Council. This was about control, political connections, and Austin getting a taste of Uber and Lyfts cash. It's a classic shake down. Several City Council members have close ties to the local Taxi companies, who were getting their clocks cleaned.

      Taxi Cabs have enjoyed a public monopoly and regulated shortages for decades, The barrier to entry is very high in the Taxi market. The city made lots of money from taxes and fees and regulated what taxis went when and where. Along come Uber and Lyft. they don't play Austin's game.

      Before Uber and Lyft, it was very difficult to find a cab at 2AM downtown. There weren't enough for all the partiers. With Uber and Lyft in the market, drunk driving incidents have gone down and people were very satisfied with Uber and Lyft's service. So what happens when a business is making money and has happy customers? Yep, the politicians step in to fuck it up. Austin wants to control prices, wants fees, and wants to limit the number of drivers.

      So now Uber and Lyft leave and more people will stumble to their cars at 2am and drive drunk, More people will drive their own vehicles downtown, taking up parking and clogging up traffic. The cost of getting a ride will go up and service will decline.

      It's the Detroit model where special interests win out over common sense.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by buddyglass ( 925859 )
        Full disclosure: I live in Austin and voted "Yes" on Prop 1. Two things I don't understand about your argument above:

        First, how does requiring fingerprint-based background checks put money in the City's pocket?

        Second, what is the actual cost (both in terms of "dollars" and "inconvenience") to implement fingerprint-based background checks? Is it really that much? Couldn't Uber and Lyft simply require prospective drivers to foot the cost for their own fingerprinting? That might shrink the pool of driv
        • Re:Waste of money (Score:4, Insightful)

          by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Sunday May 08, 2016 @06:20PM (#52072417)

          Austin is going to actually do the fingerprinting and background check

          Odds that the costs will be passed along without some fee or markup?


          Austin never regulates anything without some sort of cost plus arrangement.

          • I can't imagine the "profit" from a markup on background-check services would be anything significant. It strains credulity to imagine that's the primary motivation behind the ordinance that Prop 1 would have replaced.
            • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

              Since background checks are paid for at a flat-fee rate in most places, the entire thing is moot. Strange that neither company has problems with it up here in Canada, at least not yet. But the laws are changing, because they both want to be a taxi company and here taxi companies are required to have background checks including criminal background checks before you can get your full chauffeurs license.

        • Re:Waste of money (Score:4, Informative)

          by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Sunday May 08, 2016 @10:18PM (#52073099)

          First, how does requiring fingerprint-based background checks put money in the City's pocket?

          The last time I had a fingerprinting done in Texas for a background check, I had to go to the local police department and pay them cash (only cash, and no change given) for a police officer to print me. They had to stamp it to verify that the prints were from the person on the ID, so you can't print yourself and "borrow" someone else's fingers. The fee wasn't huge, but it was a fee paid to the local city. There was a separate fee to the state for the actual background check.

          Do you know what the process is for fingerprint background checks, or were you just assuming it wasn't a revenue source?

          Couldn't Uber and Lyft simply require prospective drivers to foot the cost for their own fingerprinting?

          That's the standard practice, but is illegal. Requiring an employee to pay to work was outlawed in the 1800s, as part of Reconstruction. The laws have since been loosened, bot early post-slavery practices included "hiring" a person at $1 to work a field, and charging him a $2 fee to work the field. Then, once in debt, require he work off the debt. It resulted in permenant indentures servitude, which is more commonly called slavery. So outlawing slavery didn't work, and laws were put in place, especially in the south (and some federal laws) that ban an employer from requiring costs to work. They are not commonly applied, but for someone like Uber, I'm sure the crowd here would have no qualms equating Uber to slavery, and holding Uber to laws that are never used these days.

          • Uber classifies (and pays) its drivers as independent contractors. California disagrees, but Texas, so far, does not. And you can have any barrier you want -- pay for your uniform, pay for a car no older than X, whatever -- with an indie contractor.
      • Re:Waste of money (Score:5, Interesting)

        by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Sunday May 08, 2016 @06:34PM (#52072471) Homepage Journal

        So why were voters adamantly against Lyft and Uber being exempt from these regulations?

        I mean, you describe it as a "shakedown" by "City Council members (with) close ties to the local Taxi companies", yet it looks to me like even in the face of overwhelming pressure to do the opposite, a majority of Austinites supported it. Are you arguing a majority of the people in Austin have "close ties" to the local Taxi companies? Or were they bamboozled by a campaign that apparently barely existed and somehow managed to miss the "truthful" message of a campaign that was supposedly hard to miss?

        And what, exactly, is the problem with free city mandated background checks anyway?

        Just curious, but this kinda sorta looks like one of those cases where Uber (et al) has decided their business shouldn't be subject to any of the same regulations as existing companies that do the same thing, even the regulations that have nothing to do with the differences in their service. Would you say this is a fair description of what's happening here?

        Or do you think local governments should only be able to regulate the precise nature and quality of background checks if it applies to drivers who are hailed from the street, but not if they're hailed from an app on a mobile phone?

        What is it about apps that makes the concept of background checks entirely different?

      • Precisely. That and kick-backs. There are bribes flying all around at council members there. Here's hoping for federal investigations and jail time for councleweasles.

        • Re:Waste of money (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Sunday May 08, 2016 @07:40PM (#52072667)

          The taxi companies (and according to you, the city council members in their pockets) spent *CLOSE TO NOTHING* to oppose this proposition. Uber and Lyft spent 8.2 million to push is. Yet the CITIZENS of Austin rejected Uber / Lyft's view. Did the taxi companies pay off everyone who opposed this prop? Or perhaps you drink too much right-wing Kool-Aid...

          • So, you know that for a fact?
            It must be amazing to live in a country where all graft and bribery is openly and publicly reported so that you can come to such a conclusion.

            Where I live, the fact that uber/lyft spent so much on trying to get a message to the public would be seen as interesting as it pretty much proves
            that they didnt either just bribe the officials, or buy votes (which, it seems, would have almost certainly allowed them to win with such a
            tiny turnout).

            But no, you are worried that they took the

      • Make no mistake, this had nothing to do with "safety" on the party of the City Council. This was about control, political connections, and Austin getting a taste of Uber and Lyfts cash. It's a classic shake down.

        Having made such a claim, care to actually back it up? How, exactly, did Proposition 1 shake down Uber or Lyft for cash?

        Yep, the politicians step in to fuck it up. Austin wants to control prices, wants fees, and wants to limit the number of drivers.

        [[Citation Needed]]

        So now Uber and

      • by rgbscan ( 321794 )

        Austin Limo's and Taxis are already fingerprinted. All they wanted was for Lyft and Uber to make a one time 30 minute visit to get fingerprinted like the other drivers.

        This is not about Austin getting in on Uber and Lyft's cash. It would be a one time fee, and you know it would be paid for by the drivers as independent contractors - just like the required vehicle inspection is, so how is Austin getting in on that sweet, sweet rideshare money?

        I disagree about your premise of the quality of the rideshare back

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Sunday May 08, 2016 @07:03PM (#52072551)
      because they're already short drivers. Uber doesn't pay enough to cover rent let alone the wear and tear on a vehicle. I know the popular belief is that their drivers are college kids out for beer money but in my experience it's mostly desperate people. A lot of those are ex-cons who can't get any other work in an increasingly bad economy. Why hire an ex-con when you've got 100 guys with clean records to choose from? A lot of Uber drivers won't pass the checks. That'll mean Uber will have to pay better to get more drivers. e.g. more surge pricing. That'll eliminate their competitive advantage over taxis.

      Uber and really the entire "sharing" economy can't survive without white knuckle desperation. Take those people out, however you do it, and they'll collapse. And that's just what they did in Austin.
      • It's not supposed to be your primary job. You drive as many trips as you want to to make a little extra cash. I don't know ANY Uber or Lyft drivers that do it full time. If you think you can, you're DOING IT WRONG.

        • There are lots (Score:5, Insightful)

          by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Sunday May 08, 2016 @08:20PM (#52072803)
          my brother just took an Uber and both folks were recently laid off. Also, I hate to be rude but were you not listening? Uber doesn't pay enough to pay for the wear and tear you're putting on your car. You're making well under minimum wage when you factor in the actual costs. And that's before we talk about the risk of driving professionally without commercial insurance (which again, Uber doesn't pay enough for).

          Uber was, is and always will be only viable so long as they can externalize their costs. That's why every single one of these "sharing" economy companies shut down the moment they were made to stop doing that. Remember that company that did the same thing with Maid services? As soon as the local government demanded they pay minimum wage by reimbursing the workers for mileage and supplies they shut down. Completely. Hell, they couldn't survive paying _minimum wage let alone a living wage. Neither could Uber.
  • Austin voters just said "we don't like your current business model, change it or stop doing business until you do."

    The companies replied "okay, we can do that."

    By the way, there are talks in the works. I wouldn't be surprised to see the companies come back within a year, under some sort of compromise.

    • by pem ( 1013437 ) on Sunday May 08, 2016 @03:14PM (#52071685)
      That's completely backwards.

      Austin defeated an ordinance that was forced onto the ballot by Uber and Lyft, who said "Pass our ordinance or we'll pick up our toys and go home."

      This was never really about Austin. It was about teaching a lesson to other cities who might follow Austin's lead.

      Uber and Lyft have backed themselves into a corner. If they leave, they'll leave an opening for other companies to come in and grow (GetMe is already here and probably salivating at the prospect); if they don't leave, they'll show other cities they can be cowed after all. So expect them to leave long enough to show other cities they mean business, but then come back with deep discounts and free rides to kill off any homegrown competition.

      FWIW, it's not just about fingerprints. For example, currently, Uber and Lyft are theoretically prohibited from stopping in traffic lanes (because people die when they do that []), but the proposed ordinance was going to change that because they can make more money if they inconvenience everybody else.

      But to the extent it was about vetting drivers, don't for a minute think that Uber and Lyft are planning on cheerfully taking responsibility for the actions of their drivers [] anyway.

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        "The motorcycle then hit the Civic that police have said was legally stopped on the side of the road with its hazard lights flashing."

        I'm not sure that'll be a good result for the suing wife. A motorcycle driving into the back of a legally stopped car seems to be the fault of the motorcycle, not the employers of the legally stopped driver.
  • by thrich81 ( 1357561 ) on Sunday May 08, 2016 @02:48PM (#52071561)

    I live just outside of Austin and couldn't vote on this but would have voted against Prop 1 (against Uber an Lyft) just because of the annoying radio ads constantly running against it -- the ads with the hushed, concerned female voice saying things like, "Did you know that the city will take over background checks, at taxpayers expense?" Combine that with the threats to leave the market... After enough of those I wasn't even interested in looking into the merits of the arguments on both sides. Good riddance, although Uber and Lyft will probably run to the state government and get some State Rep from Bumscrew, West Texas to sponsor a bill overturning all local elections/ordinances preventing "consumer ride choice freedom".

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 08, 2016 @03:11PM (#52071673)

      I live in the city and got tired of the ad barrage about government overreach. What Prop 1 would have done is not have regulations that apply to taxi drivers apply to them, as well as giving Uber/Lyft drivers the ability to stop and park -anywhere-, which causes traffic jams as they can sit blocking a road for almost a half hour.

      Taxi drivers also have to have a special licence in Texas, a chauffeur's license. This is not cheap. Ridesharing services? AFIAK, Nothing needed, so they get a free pass when it comes to this regulation.

      My take... if they want to take their toys and go home... so be it. There are other ridesharing companies which will obey the law of the land, who will gladly take their business.

      • by casings ( 257363 )

        I also live in Austin and completely agree with you. Unsolicited text messages are no way to endear yourself to people. But the radio in my car was broken so at least I was spared of those ads, and I never received any physical mail either.

        But my real qualm is that these companies used to be start-ups. Now that they are so huge, they have become just as stubborn to change as the Taxi companies. Nicht Gut, Uber. As this will only allow competitors to enter the market and take over.

        Also I would not be surpr

      • by R3d M3rcury ( 871886 ) on Sunday May 08, 2016 @06:44PM (#52072499) Journal

        I live in the city and got tired of the ad barrage about government overreach. What Prop 1 would have done is not have regulations that apply to taxi drivers apply to them [...]

        This is what torques me off about Uber/Lyft.

        It's not ride-sharing. It's a taxi service.

        Ride-sharing is, like, "Hey, I'm going to work and I happen to drive past the airport. If anyone needs a lift to the airport and it's not too inconvenient, I'll give you a ride." Taxis, conversely, drive around to areas and wait for people who need rides and then take them where they want to go. When they drop off that person, they wait for someone else.

        I would be more than willing to bet that the majority--even the vast majority--ascribe more to the taxi model than the ride-sharing model. Sorry--they're taxis. Uber/Lyft are, essentially, nationwide taxi companies.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )

          It's not ride-sharing. It's a taxi service.

          Taxi is, like, "I'll go to the cab rank and hail a cab, or hail one down on the street."

          Uber is a private limo service, and in NYC is regulated as such and abides by those rules. They aren't a taxi service, as "taxi" means there are requirements around car labeling and in some places required by law to pull over for a hail (especially in places where taxi bigotry was strong). As Uber does not have cab ranks, and does not respond to hails, they are not a "taxi" service in any definition of the word. Yes

      • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

        I had a chauffeur's license in Michigan, and it was about $10 more per year than a standard license. Is such a license really that much more expensive in Texas?

  • by SydShamino ( 547793 ) on Sunday May 08, 2016 @02:52PM (#52071577)

    My friends who have used Uber said that they were getting like 3-4 mail advertisements a week about this, plus emails, texts, etc. Some who otherwise wouldn't care voted against it because they were so annoyed at the spam.

    Austin still has a driver service besides taxis. Get Me [] operates here and complies with the background checks.

    • by pem ( 1013437 )
      I don't use Uber, and a couple of times, I got 3 physical mail advertisements in a single day, not to mention phone calls.

      AFAICT, they really screwed themselves with the lies and distortions in their ad campaign. They had a petition of 65K signatures to put the issue on the ballot, and then only got 39K votes. (At a cost of well over $200 / vote.)

      Where were the rest of the petitioners?

    • by philthedrill ( 690129 ) on Sunday May 08, 2016 @06:03PM (#52072355)
      As someone who lives in Austin, I can confirm the bombardment in advertising. Over the last few weeks I got between one and four pro-Prop 1 mailers per day. My wife and I didn't get texts, and we don't answer unknown numbers so we don't know if they actually called us or not. They did call my mother-in-law twice. The first time, they deliberately lied to her. "They" never identified themselves, but I'm assuming it was Rideshare Works for Austin (the Uber/Lyft PAC).

      RWA: Which way are you planning on voting on Prop 1?
      MIL: I'm FOR fingerprinting.
      RWA: Then you want to vote FOR Prop 1.
      MIL: Are you sure? I thought I'm supposed supposed to vote against.
      RWA: Nope, you're supposed to vote FOR it if you're in favor of fingerprinting.

      We got at least four canvassers. The first guy asked us how we were planning on voting for Prop 1, and my wife replied that she was for fingerprinting. He tried to argue that fingerprinting wasn't necessary, so he was pro-Prop 1. I answered the door to another canvasser who was anti-Prop 1. My wife ignored the last two when she saw that they were carrying clipboards.

      I ran into a pro-Prop 1 canvasser while out jogging with my neighbors. The canvasser got lost in our neighborhood, so we walked with her for a block. She tried to use some of the pro-Prop 1 talking points, but she admitted that she didn't really care about it, so she was probably paid.

      On top of that, the internet was on fire. Here [] and here [] are two reddit posts just about the phone calls. Nextdoor threads were epic.
  • Can someone explain what the objection by Uber/Lyft was compared to background checks they already do (based on SSN/ID/DL)? They already have to physically see the person applying, don't they? Was it objection to the cost of a few fingerprint scanning terminals, the software infrastructure, or a principled objection to the regulation?
    • Re:the issue? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 08, 2016 @03:26PM (#52071721)

      Their objection is that they're a "disruptive" "startup" "app" so they shouldn't have to play by any rules, because rules are so last year. They'd rather piss away $8 million fighting the regulations than spend a fraction of that to comply with them. Welcome to the new dot bomb, with a bunch of entitled twats leading the way.

    • I believe part of the objection was that they are not permitted to perform these checks. The city government wants to perform the checks themselves. If people have to go to the government to get permission to work for Uber & Lyft, then the government is able to regulate not only who, but also how many people have access to these jobs. I imagine that if Uber & Lyft had drafted a simple "We're competent to operate fingerprint scanning terminals. You can have fingerprint checks. We want lack of direct
  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Sunday May 08, 2016 @03:19PM (#52071705) Journal

    Imagine applying the same process to the November elections and completely purging the House of all incumbents. Let them have their Citizens United and spend all the money they want. With our votes, we can turn that money into confetti. No phony "reform" or term limits needed.

    So, they "vowed" to leave Austin. Maybe that was the idea behind the rule. This is a vaporous company (really, what's this 50 billion "valuation"bullshit?) that is going to leave a lot of people holding the bag when it disappears.

  • ...Easy solution for other cities that have been fighting to shut them down too?
  • Ride-sharing companies should have no objection to safety and environmental regulations, so long as they appply to all drivers for hire in the area. The line on the asphalt that Uber/Lyft must draw is any regulation restricting the number of cabs.

  • If you are against abortion, don't have one. If you are against riding with a non-fingerprinted driver, don't ride with one.
    • by pem ( 1013437 )
      When the driver shows up, it's too late to ask "were you fingerprinted", isn't it, really?

      There was discussion of allowing optional requests for fingerprinted drivers, but Uber and Lyft dismissed that possibility out of hand.

  • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Sunday May 08, 2016 @04:03PM (#52071881)

    There is absolutely no reason the government should require collecting and using fingerprints, especially just to run background checks. Using fingerprints and allowing the government (or any other party) to have access to that data is unacceptable. Not only because the government should have no need to track what people are doing but because the gov should not have fingerprint registration data- which will be horribly abused. To me this is just SHOCKING.

    Stand up for your rights, people... (and the rights of your children, too). Once you give this data to the government (or big business), it will NEVER be erased or restricted, regardless of claims or laws- it will go into huge databases and shared between all agencies and used however they want for as long as they want. Even worse, with every crime investigation, you will be searched without probable cause.

    Again, there is ZERO reason for fingerprints just to do a background check of *LICENSED DRIVERS*, but if one MUST use biometrics, there is only one safer and practical biometric I know of- that is deep vein palm scan. That registration data cannot be readily abused. It can't be latently collected like DNA, fingerprints, and face recognition can. You have to know you are registering/enrolling when it happens. You don't leave evidence of it all over the place. When you go to use it, you know you are using it every time. And on top of all that, it is accurate, fast, reliable, unchanging, live-sensing, and cheap. If you must participate in a biometric, this is the one you should insist on using.

    • Besides which, there's a very high probability that this biometric data will eventually be stolen by some hacker, or leaked via an insider. Then criminals will have your biometric data, and won't that be fun?

  • I bet they don't cease operations.
  • Granted, it is Austin, but there is something good in being able to resist the whims of pseudo-taxi services. The rules have worked well for Austin's residents, they don't need to give an exemption for trendiness.

    What kind of bribery will they try next to get around the check that every other service uses? Or will they just try to implement another baseless "DeBlasio meter" to cause customer-sourced pressure? Besides, rule exemptions are for high-speed toll roads ;)

  • I live in Austin and voted prop 1. Why? Because the city government is out of control here in general, and even though I am not a U/L user, I wanted to send that message. One thing about prop 1 that didn't get a lot of attention was how convoluted the damn language on the ballot was. One local TV station did some reporting on it.

    prop 1: "Shall the City Code be amended to repeal City Ordinance No. 20151217-075 relating to Transportation Network Companies; and replace with an ordinance that would repeal and p

    • I live in Austin and voted prop 1. Why? Because the city government is out of control here in general, and even though I am not a U/L user, I wanted to send that message. One thing about prop 1 that didn't get a lot of attention was how convoluted the damn language on the ballot was. One local TV station did some reporting on it.

      prop 1: "Shall the City Code be amended to repeal City Ordinance No. 20151217-075 relating to Transportation Network Companies; and replace with an ordinance that would repeal and prohibit required fingerprinting, repeal the requirement to identify the vehicle with a distinctive emblem, repeal the prohibition against loading and unloading passengers in a travel lane, and require other regulations."

      Yea, how many folks stood in front of the ballot box and scratched their heads on that one. []

      The sad thing is you know there's some lifer in an office somewhere saying "I don't see how I could make it any clearer"

  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Sunday May 08, 2016 @07:32PM (#52072635)

    But on election day, the proposal to repeal ultimately received just 39,083 votes -- 44% of the total cast...

    So, in Austin, a city of a little over 910,000 people, only 89,000 or so voted... And people wonder why government doesn't represent them...

  • Austinite here. The summary is a bit misleading (as have most statements from the "grassroots" Ridesharing Works for Austin group).

    First, the vote was for a new proposition. The new proposition was "scrap existing ordinance and come up with something else that does NOT require 1) fingerprint based background checks, 2) clear marking on taxis, 3) taxis be required to drop passengers at a curb (as opposed to having everyone jump out in the middle of a 3+ lane street)." The existing ordinance was not new. Uber

    • It should also be noted that Ridesharing Works for Austin has also dumped more money into this election than any election in Austin's history.

      And,as things usually work in Texas, TX State Representatives Chris Paddie, John Kuempel, and Lyle Larsonhas have searched their consciences, found that it directed them to a huge bag of money, and then filed a bill that would prohibit cities like Austin from passing such ordinances in the future.

    • by spoot ( 104183 )

      Yea, can't let corporations write the laws for Austin City Council. Tell that to all the developers from out of state building developments downtown like a farking mushroom farm. Including one that is being built for the tune of 60 million purposefully being built with no parking. This is the city council's grand plan to reduce traffic in Austin. Can't let a corporation control what gets voted on in Austin.... what a pile of horse sh*t. That dog just don't hunt. It's biz a usual for the greasy fingers of Au

  • by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Monday May 09, 2016 @06:24AM (#52074299)

    It's not ride sharing. Ride sharing is when someone is going to go to a specific destination, and is willing to take other people there, splitting costs. Pretending to be a taxi is not "ride sharing".

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A black panther is really a leopard that has a solid black coat rather then a spotted one.