Uber and Lyft Shut Down in Austin in Protest Over New Driver Screening Rules

By Paul Riegler on 10 May 2016
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Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas

Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas

Ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft shut down their operations in Austin, Texas Monday after losing a fight on driver screening with the city’s government.

The move follows the introduction of new rules that require the companies to conduct fingerprint background checks for all drivers, which could reveal criminal records. The rules were originally passed by the Austin city council in 2015 and the two companies then launched a $9 million campaign against the requirements, which resulted in an up-or-down vote by city residents this past Saturday. The measure passed by 56%.

Both Uber and Lyft maintained that the new requirements were less effective than the ones they currently have in place.

The decision to leave Austin will put a minimum of 10,000 drivers out of work, Uber said. While Uber and Lyft have discontinued offering their services, other companies, including Get Me, a newcomer in the ride-sharing business, will stay put.

“We as a business must follow the rules or legislation that the cities or towns that we go into, just if we were a restaurant business there are city ordinances that must be followed,” Get Me said on its Facebook page.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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