Austin Petition to Save Uber Gets Three Times the Required Signatures

The city of Austin, Texas, may soon lure back ridesharing companies after all.

Last December, Uber and Lyft threatened to leave town after the Austin City Council voted nine to two to require all ridesharing drivers to pass fingerprint-based background checks.

However, according to the Texas Tribune, a group called Ridesharing Works announced on Tuesday that they have collected over 65,000 signatures on a petition to overturn the city’s new restrictions on Uber and Lyft, or force a public vote.

The more stringent regulations are scheduled to go into effect in Austin in less than two weeks, but the petition may compel the City Council to act even after they are in place.

If the city clerk’s office certifies the signatures, and the petition moves forward, the Austin City Council will then have the option of either reverting ridesharing regulations to those previously adopted in 2014, or schedule a citywide vote on the matter for May 7.

City and state law requires no fewer than 20,000 signatures on a petition to overturn an ordinance. According to a press release from Ridesharing Works, the group plans to present the city clerk with 23,000 signatures, despite it collecting more than triple the required amount. The group also notes that it began collecting signatures to reverse the new regulations on December 28, less than two weeks after the Council approved them.

“It’s clear that ridesharing has become a relied-upon service for Austinites all across the city, and that many disagree strongly with the recent Council action,” Caroline Joiner, treasurer of Ridesharing Works, said on Tuesday.

Both Uber and Lyft have previously followed through on their threats to leave a city if fingerprint background checks were made mandatory. In March 2015, the ridesharing companies pulled out of San Antonio, Texas, only to return after city leaders agreed to make fingerprinting voluntary.

In December, before the Austin City Council had yet voted on the stricter rules, Uber spokeswoman Debbee Hancock said Austin could become “the only major city in the U.S. without ridesharing.”

Source: Texas Tribune.

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