The Uber/Lyft debate has been raging in Austin for months, but do you know what you’ll actually be voting on? Voting is a right, but being an informed voter is a responsibility.
Proposition 1 is a vote on rules and regulations in Austin for transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. If you vote AGAINST Prop. 1, you’re voting for the City of Austin’s proposed safety rules. If you vote FOR Prop. 1, you’re voting for Uber and Lyft’s proposed regulations that they personally drafted in retaliation to the Austin City Council’s ordinance. While a lot of the rules in the two ordinances are the same, there are some very important differences as well. To make it easier for voters to understand, we’ve highlighted the differences in the ordinances, and therefore what Austin residents are really voting on at the polls on May 7.
- AGAINST PROP 1 – City of Austin’s regulations
- FOR PROP 1 – Uber and Lyft’s regulations
- TNC (Transportation Network Company) – an organization, whether a corporation, partnership, sole proprietor, or other form, which provides on-demand transportation services for compensation using an online-enabled application or platform to connect passengers with drivers.
- ATD (Austin Transportation Department) – section of the Austin government that addresses transportation needs and challenges, as well as public safety.
The regulations the City Council passed in December requiring stricter rules than currently in place for Uber and Lyft are not absurd. People who operate pedicabs or horse carriages in the city already have to get fingerprinted. Make no mistake; this is not an issue of keeping Uber and Lyft in Austin. That’s not what the vote is for on May 7. The City Council isn’t kicking anyone out; they’re just leveling the playing field for all TNCs by making sure they follow the same rules. And if these particular companies choose not to do business here, Austin Uber and Lyft drivers will soon be provided with new transportation companies to drive for.
Uber and Lyft have already pumped $2.2 million into this campaign, which is evident in their abundant advertising. This is supposed to be a local issue, but it’s quickly becoming a perfect example of why Citizens United should be repealed. Vote “No” for Prop. 1 and show corporations that they can’t write their own rules and buy local politics in Austin.