Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Austin, post-Lyft and Uber

Demand doesn't go away just because of restrictive regulations. The events in Austin are instructive (Reason.com):

A majority of the 17 percent of Austin voters who turned out chose to stick it to big business—and to themselves. And Uber and Lyft pulled out of the city.

By all reports, the results have been a mess. About 10,000 drivers lost their gigs, bars are reporting a decline in business, and some honestly unanticipated hiccups have been reported, such as particular inconvenience for disabled residents who need to find new ways to get around.

And, ironically in the wake of a "victory" for pro-regulation forces, there's been a big surge in completely unregulated rides arranged by word of mouth, through closed social media groups, and through peer-to-peer services. On Facebook, Austin Underground Ride (currently around 6,500 members) urges former Uber and Lyft drivers to join. "You can post your availability and info on this page and continue making the money you need to feed your families and pay your bills. Riders can post here their needs for a ride as well. We don't need anyone. We can make our own deals as people and take care of ourselves.

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