Uber, Lyft Suspend Service In Austin Over Rules Requiring Drivers’ Fingerprints

Image courtesy of Andreanna Moya Photography

If you’re looking for a ride in Austin you’ll have one less option starting today, after Uber and Lyft suspended operations there over city requirements that include fingerprint-based background checks for all drivers.

The ride-hailing companies took their services offline within Austin city limits after voters put the kibosh on a ballot measure called Proposition 1 that would have overturned ridesharing regulations, reports the Austin American-Statesman.

Uber users receive a message alerting them of the shutdown when they try to request a ride: “No pickups as of May 9th. Uber not currently available in Austin. Due to regulations passed by City Council, Uber is no longer available within Austin city limits. We hope to resume operations under modern ridesharing regulations in the near future.”

A “contact City Council” link is included below the message, taking users to a contact page they can use to email all council members.

Lyft users get a similar message: “Due to City Council action, Lyft cannot operate in Austin. Contact your City Council member now to tell them you want Lyft,” with a button linked to the relevant contact page. Below the message is a “let them know” button.

UberEats is still running, however, with an announcement that food deliveries would continue within the city.

If you’re in need of a ride in the meantime, startup company Get Me — a Dallas company that offers rides as well as drivers who will bring items like coffee, dry cleaning, even lumber — remains in operation. Ahead of Uber and Lyft pulling the plug on Austin service, company executives said Get Me would try to swoop in and recruit any drivers left behind.

“We have a platform where we could actually — and we already have this in place and ready to go — sign up conceivably 5,000 drivers in a month, if not more,” Get Me chief experience officer Jonathan Laramy told the Texas Tribune last month, when Uber and Lyft pledged to suspend operations if Proposition 1 wasn’t adopted (h/t The Scoop).