Skip to content
CityLab
Transportation

Austin's Post-Uber Plan: Break Up the Taxi Cartel

Uber and Lyft have pulled out of the city, but a new proposal to deregulate taxis could change what kind of rides Austinites take.
Downtown Austin, Texas.
Downtown Austin, Texas.Earl McGehee/Flickr Creative Commmons

Earlier this month, Austin voters delivered a decisive “no” vote on Proposition 1, a ballot measure supported by Uber and Lyft. The measure would have freed the ride-hailing companies from a fingerprinting-security ordinance that the city adopted last December. After the companies threatened to leave if they didn’t get their way on Prop 1, Austin voters called their bluff.

Uber and Lyft immediately made good on the threat to pull out, leaving Austinites who depend on these services—both for convenience and employment—deep in the lurch. The companies won’t stay gone for long. As The Economist notes, the ride-hailing industry’s perpetual stand-offs with cities usually end in face-saving exercises, from New York to Houston and San Antonio.