Both ridesharing services had previously been allowed to self-regulate in the city, but in December, the Austin city council passed a set of rules that included the fingerprinting measure, something both companies opposed because they had background check systems in place already and nothing ever goes wrong when industries are allowed to police themselves.
Between the two services and other campaigners on their side, opposition to the law change spent more than $8.1 million, according to the Austin American-Statesman, in a blitz burying voters with mailers, ads, phone calls and text messages. That's a record amount for an Austin ballot proposal, and a lot of money to spend for a business that argues its model won't survive fingerprinting. In the end, the blitz wasn’t enough.
“The rules passed by City Council don’t allow true ridesharing to operate,” said a Lyft spokesperson in a statement. “Instead they make it harder for part-time drivers, the heart of Lyft’s peer-to-peer model, to get on the road and harder for passengers to get a ride. Because of this, we have to take a stand for a long-term path forward that lets ridesharing continue to grow across the country.”