Austin City Councilman Sues Mayor To Overturn New Ride-Hailing App Ordinance

Image courtesy of Ben Schumin

A new law requiring drivers for ride-hailing services to undergo a city background check, including fingerprinting, led the two leading companies in the industry, Uber and Lyft, to pull out of the Austin market, leaving passengers rideless and around 10,000 drivers jobless. Now a city councilman who was against the original law has filed a lawsuit against the city.

Reuters reports that the two companies combined spent $9 million campaigning against the ordinance, which was put up for a public vote on May 7. Council member Donald Zimmerman’s lawsuit claims that the wording on the ballot initiative was “unlawful” and very confusing. Voters were asked to choose between a ride-sharing ordinance that the city council had passed and one proposed by Uber and Lyft, asking voters to vote for or against “the ordinance,” without specifying which one.

Voters were voting for or against the ordinance proposed by the ride-hailing companies, but it’s easy to see how someone could think that “for the ordinance” meant “for the existing city ordinance.” However, a previous legal challenge to the ballot initiative that also called the vote unlawful and the ballot language “confusing.”

Texas lawsuit seeks to overturn Austin’s Uber fingerprint rule [Reuters]

RSG Special Report: How’s Austin Doing Without Uber And Lyft?

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