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Transportation

Austin's Uber War Is the Dumbest One Yet

Ride-hailing apps are threatening to pull out of Austin if its residents don’t vote for their sponsored ballot measure.
Attendees at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin in 2014.
Attendees at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin in 2014.Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP

On May 7, residents of Austin will vote on Proposition 1, a ballot measure sponsored by ride-hailing app companies Uber and Lyft. The companies have spent millions pushing for the initiative, which would swap out an existing city regulation on ride-hailing for an ordinance supported by the companies being regulated. More than money is at stake: If Austin doesn’t pass Prop 1, according to Uber and Lyft, they will pull out of the city.

Austin residents have seen their mailboxes stuffed with flyers and their scuzzy campus bars plied with canvassers. Reddit users say that Uber is texting its users to vote for Prop 1 “to keep Uber in Austin.” Proposition 1 is all that Austin can talk about these days. Uber and Lyft even have Tim Riggins playing for them!