I first used Uber a couple of years ago in Los Angeles, a city where I would normally rent a car. But my meeting was near LAX and decided instead to give Uber a try. I've been hooked ever since. It's fast, convenient, efficient, and cost-effective. It saves time renting and returning a car at the airport. I am an Uber evangelical.
You would assume that a city priding itself for its progressivism would embrace the free-market, individual, entrepreneurial aspect of Uber (and Lyft, which I have never used). Well, you would assume incorrectly.
Austin’s regulatory regime drives Uber and Lyft out of town.
“With the failure of Proposition 1, Austin’s innovation-friendly reputation has taken a hit. The city’s decision to saddle ridesharing apps with an extensive list of petty, burdensome, and unnecessary regulations is driving Uber and Lyft out of town, effective Monday… The city council imposed a raft of ridesharing regulations in December 2015, including a fingerprinting requirement for drivers, “trade dress” for all rideshare vehicles, prohibitions on where drivers can pick up and drop off passengers, and a voluminous and invasive data reporting scheme.
The community reacted swiftly against the new ordinance and in just three weeks over 65,000 petition signatures were submitted – three times the required amount — in support of a more innovation friendly substitute ordinance. Rather than adopt the less burdensome substitute ordinance, the city council forced the Saturday May 7 special election vote on Proposition 1.
After the votes were tabulated, the organized heavy regulators held a party. “It is so great that we are all celebrating together tonight,” said anti-Proposition 1 spokeswoman Laura Morrison, as the crowd whooped and hollered. Morrison dismissed Proposition 1 supporters as “special interests.” “Austin made Uber an example to the nation,” gloated David Butts, a powerful political consultant and a key force in the campaign against Proposition 1.”
Something happens to normal human beings when they are elected to public office. Instead of asking themselves whether their actions advance freedom and liberty, they instead focus on the mantra of public safety, whether there is a public safety issue or not. "If it will save one life" becomes their guiding principle, not "does this advance choice, economic freedom, individual liberty?"
Bureaucrats in Austin are stifling innovation, which seems incredibly ironic for a city that maintains it is the Silicon Valley of Texas.
Next time you're in need of cheap, efficient, safe transportation, resist the government-licensed monopoly of taxi service, or the taxpayer subsidized mass transit, and give your hard-earned money to an Uber driver.