Online ride hailing services Uber and Lyft has been locked in an intense battle with the city of Austin, Texas, which had required the ride hailing companies to do a thorough and complete background check on all drivers that were employed for their services. The ride hailing software have been actively trying to get people to vote against the city bill and piece of legislation and asked people to not make it mandatory for the companies. The combined expense that Uber and Lyft paid in order to disseminate this message rounded up to about eight million dollars.
The ride hailing service companies have tried lobbying the city council, but were not able to do so successfully. The company had spent eight million dollars in email, cellphone and online advertisements in trying to get people to see their view point on the matter. However, the city of Austin spoke and showed that the onus of background checks would lie on the cab service company and no one else. Uber and Lyft proposed other measures and mentioned that they were not solely responsible for the background checks of drivers that were employed by them. This did not go down well with the citizens of Austin.
Uber and Lyft had also put out an ominous message stating that the need to install digital background checks for the drivers would make Uber and Lyft an unprofitable business as they would not be able to install the adequate software in the restricted amount of time and create a successful business model simultaneously. In keeping with their ominous message, Uber and Lyft have issued a statement mentioning that they would be shutting down their services in the city of Austin. There have been many opposing arguments to this case and the residents of Austin have been highly critical of the exploitative measures of the taxi service company.
Many critics have voiced their opinions in stating that the amount of money that the companies had spent in advertisement could have easily been used in order to install all the required software. Even if the advertisement costs were not able to completely cover costs, it would have definitely put a substantial dent in the need for getting this service installed. While Uber and Lyft have expressed their regret in leaving Austin, there doesn’t seem to be much love lost for the people of Austin.