Uber and Lyft vow to leave Austin after losing $8 million campaign against regulations – New York Daily News

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Uber and Lyft have vowed to stop operating in Austin Monday morning.
© Sergio Perez / Reuters/REUTERS

Uber and Lyft have vowed to stop operating in Austin Monday morning.

Uber and Lyft lost their very expensive campaign to avoid some regulations in Austin, Texas — so they’re now threatening storm out of the city altogether.

The ride-share companies have vowed to stop operating in the Texas capital city Monday morning because they didn’t get their way on Proposition 1, a ballot measure over how the services will be regulated.

The defeat came after the companies dumped $8.6 into avoiding the new rules — which, according to the American-Statesman, is the most expensive political campaign in Austin history.

“The people have spoken tonight loud and clear,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler tweeted Saturday night, after the Prop 1 vote.

“Uber and Lyft are welcome to stay in Austin, and I invite them to the table regardless.”

Uber and Lyft, which are each worth several billion dollars, feuded with the Austin City Council after it passed a series of new regulations — including fingerprint background checks and “trade dress” for drivers, and a ban on picking up customers at travel lanes and bus stops.

The ride-share companies created Prop 1 and secured 65,000 signatures to put it to a vote. If it passed, Uber and Lyft would skirt the new regulations and oversee themselves. If it failed, the city’s rules would stay.

And it failed — with 56% of voters opposing Prop 1, according to Travis County Clerk results.

The companies’ temper tantrums immediately followed.

Lyft said it will drive away from Austin for good at 5 a.m. Monday.

Lyft and Uber say they will no longer serve Austin after losing an $8.6 million vote to pass Proposition 1.Ted S. Warren/AP

Lyft and Uber say they will no longer serve Austin after losing an $8.6 million vote to pass Proposition 1.

“Lyft and Austin are a perfect match and we want to stay in the city,” spokeswoman Chelsea Wilson said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, the rules passed by City Council don’t allow true ridesharing to operate.”

Uber, meanwhile, said its Austin rides will stop at 8 a.m.

“Disappointment does not begin to describe how we feel about shutting down operations in Austin,” Austin general manager Chris Nakutis said in a statement.

“We hope the City Council will reconsider their ordinance so we can work together to make the streets of Austin a safer place for everyone.”

Neither company said how many workers they employ in Austin, or what will happen to those jobs after Monday. Uber and Lyft reps did not immediately reply to Daily News messages.

The companies created a PAC to pass Prop 1, Ridesharing Works for Austin, and poured more than $8 million into its campaign, according to finance reports. That included TV ads, mail fliers, yard signs, consultant fees and a $50,000 retainer for former Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell to serve as a pitch guy for the ride-share services. Lyft even offered discounted rides to voters heading to the polls to vote on Prop 1.

The campaign opposing Prop 1 spent less than $200,000, according to finance records.

Uber and Lyft have routinely clashed with city governments nationwide, opposing most efforts for any form of oversight. The Pennsylvania legislature is now weighing a bill that would require ride-shares to be regulated similarly to cabs in Philadelphia — a city where Uber and Lyft have been operating illegally.


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