Cab-hailing companies Uber and Lyft had previously announced that they would be withdrawing their services from Austin if the proposition for overturning a bill, requiring fingerprint-based background checks for their drivers, was not passed. They are to follow through on their announcement after 56 percent of Austin voters voted against Proposition 1.
The decision made by both Uber and Lyft to shut down their ride sharing services in Austin is a temporary one, only a form of a protest against a measure that requires the companies to select drivers after thorough criminal background checks via fingerprint scans, reports TechCrunch.
The companies stood firm on the fact that the tests they conduct before hiring drivers in the past have been more than sufficient, and that they should be able to continue that process. The new and improved form of background checks increase both costs as well as burden regarding the recruitment of drivers.
However, the decision to shut down their services does not come without huge losses. In an attempt to encourage people to vote for the notion of overturning the bill, Uber and Lyft had reportedly invested $8 million on campaigns and advertisements. On the other hand, the opposition – a political action committee – only had to spend a little under $100,000 to convince the public to cast their vote against Proposition 1.
According to Engadget, Mayor Steve Adler tweeted after the results of the vote had been revealed:
In spite of clear indication from the judge that the court might still be open to negotiations with Lyft and Uber, it seems like the companies are not interested in further discussion. After Uber expressed “disappointment” at the decision, and Lyft announced to take a “stand for a long-term path forward,” the companies have made up their minds to pull services from Austin starting May 9 until further development.
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