For me, it’s always fun to watch stupid regulatory initiatives blow up in the faces of politicians and ignorant voters. The Texas tech Mecca (irony boner), the city of Austin, claimed that its “enhanced background checks” law, best known for its fingerprint requirements, was aimed at passenger safety. Anyone with a brain knew that it was aimed at protecting the local cab companies whose market share had been decimated by the much more cost effective Uber and Lyft. The city of Atlanta tried the same thing, but luckily it was struck down. The consequences are obvious. Austin had better be ready for an increase in drunk driving, since cab fares will skyrocket due to less competition and increased costs for conforming to the new regulations. Another obvious consequence that has emerged is an increase in black market ride sharing.
From The Federalist:
Tens of thousands of riders and drivers are now connecting through Facebook and Craigslist, sidestepping onerous city regulations passed late last year aimed at traditional ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft that required drivers to be fingerprinted, among other things.
What exactly did the city of Austin think was going to happen to Lyft and Uber drivers when the companies had to pull out of the city? Were they going to apply at cab companies? Were they going to sit at home and jerk off in their newfound free time? Of course not. Most uberX and Lyft drivers do ride sharing for a little extra money in their free time. According to the drivers I’ve talked to, they make pretty good money for just driving people around. You get off your regular job, press a button on your phone, work as long as you’d like, press the button again, and go home. Boom, brilliant. Now with the companies gone, former Uber and Lyft drivers have started advertising their services on Facebook, Craigslist, etc. as black market, unregulated ride sharers.
So good job, Austin. At least Uber and Lyft did basic background checks on their drivers. Now you have an unregulated black market where you don’t know who is out there offering people rides. If anything, you created a greater rider safety issue than before. I’m not standing here saying Uber and Lyft are perfect — sometimes creeps and psychos can slip through background checks — but at least it was a basic screening process. On the other side of the coin, I guess drivers can now be less cautious about offering coke and weed to their passengers, for a nominal fee of course, since there is absolutely no oversight. Or, God forbid, something worse.
Congrats, Austin, you goddamn idiots..
[via The Federalist]