AUSTIN (KXAN) – Uber and Lyft threatened to leave Austin if Proposition One failed and the fingerprint regulations became the law of the city. Voters rejected the plans backed by Uber and Lyft by more than a ten points at the polls. A $8.6 million campaign couldn’t convince people in Austin that TNCs should go without fingerprint background checks.
Uber and Lyft both are set to suspend their operations early Monday morning.
But ride sharing continues in Austin. While Uber and Lyft are set to leave, “Get Me” continues to operate its headquarters in Austin. While bickering between city hall, Uber, and Lyft dragged on from month to month, Get Me had the same position – they will operate in Austin no matter what happened on May 7. They always planned to work with the city and operate under any regulations passed through city hall.
“Since the beginning we have never flip-flopped on our stance. We have a business that we’re running and expanding very rapidly,” said the Chief Experience Office Jonathan Laramy, “I applaud the city, the city council, the mayor and everyone involved in saying you know what, let’s let the citizens decide.”
Get Me calls their drivers “go-getters”. They offer on-demand rides and on-demand deliveries. A few months ago they had 500 drivers. Sunday Laramy told KXAN they’re expected to have around 4,500 drivers after an onslaught of drivers in the last 48 hours.
Laramy says they’re working together with the city of Austin and other TNCs like Ztrip and Wingz to continue ridesharing in Austin.
“Unfortunately for everyone who woke up today they’re left with carnage and questions of what’s going to happen next. Get Me never wanted that. We just wanted to sit down at the table,” said Laramy who still would like to see Uber and Lyft operate in Austin.
“This isn’t about GetMe coming in as a rescue or whatever. This is about other TNCs, it’s about the city, it’s about other cities, it’s about the citizens, it’s about the on-demand drivers and we are there to support,” said Laramy.
Voters rejected Proposition One Saturday 56 percent to 44 percent. More than 80,000 people voted.
This is not Uber and Lyft’s first political battle in Texas. The ridesharing companies left San Antonio for several months last year after the city council passed fingerprint background checks. They came back months later after the city’s fingerprinting became optional.
Uber is also looking to leave Houston over the same issue. Lyft suspended operations there back in 2014. Uber and Lyft stopped working in Corpus Christi just two months ago as well… also because of fingerprinting.
Uber also left Galveston and Midland earlier this year over other issues. Lyft does not operate in either city.
This was the most expensive election in Austin history and ranks up there as one of the top in any city election in recent history. Uber and Lyft supporters spent $8.6 million dollars to eventually lose the election. That shattered the record held by Austin Mayor Steve Adler. He spent $1.2 million on his successful 2014 run.
For those outside of Austin city limits, you can catch an Uber ride to the airport. However, you will not be able to take an Uber from the airport due to the fact that it is located in city limits.
Get Me plans on expanding to more cities across Texas and the country.