Ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft have decided to cease operations in Austin, Texas beginning May 9 due to a regulation dispute with the city.
Despite launching a joint $8 million campaign that aimed to gather support for a proposal that would exempt their drivers from fingerprinting in background checks, Uber and Lyft did not succeed. Citizens voted to block Proposition 1, a move that Lyft claims would make it much harder to hire part-time drivers in Austin.
Some passengers in the city, however, are sorely missing Uber and Lyft, especially as this will be the first weekend when the services are not available. Two women visiting the city were not aware that Uber and Lyft have left, which meant that they had to use the bus to get around. Another visitor mentioned that Uber is extremely convenient, and that it would have helped with the five meetings scheduled for the day.
With a huge void left behind by Uber and Lyft's departure, other ride-hailing apps are taking advantage of the situation.
Get Me, another ride-sharing service operating in the city, has become super busy, with one of its drivers claiming that he made $600 on his first day.
Wingz, another new company, is looking to get more drivers on the road in response to the high demand. The company works a bit differently, as passengers are required to book their rides two hours in advance, and the only destination is the airport. However, with Uber and Lyft gone, Wingz is thinking about expanding its service to transport passengers to anywhere in Austin.
Fasten, another ride-sharing app, has also announced that it will be launching in the city sooner than planned. Already operational in Boston, Fasten will be speeding up its timeline to begin offering its services in Austin, according to CEO Kirill Evdakov.
These companies will be following Austin's regulations of having to fingerprint drivers working under them, which is something that Uber and Lyft did not want to do. Whether Austin will win or lose in the long term with its implementation of the regulation remains to be seen, but for now, these smaller ride-sharing companies will need to keep up with all the demand for their services.