A vote yes means the regulations City Council adopted last December to require fingerprinting background checks of all ridesharing drivers get thrown out. And Lyft and Uber and other so called Transportation Network Companies, known as TNCs, will continue to operate business as usual in Austin.
A vote for Proposition One would “replace with an ordinance that would repeal and prohibit required fingerprinting, repeal the requirement to identify the vehicle with a distinctive emblem, repeal the prohibition against loading and unloading passengers in a travel lane, and require other regulations for Transportation Network Companies.” A sample ballot can be found here.
A vote no means the regulations stand and drivers must undergo fingerprint background checks. Lyft and Uber have threatened to shut down operations in Austin and lay off their drivers if that happens.
Many in the tech community want citizens to vote in favor of Proposition One.
A lot is at stake.
Austin is a finalist in the U.S. Transportation Department’s Smart City Challenge. It could win up to $50 million to improve the city’s traffic flow and create smarter transportation options. But Fortune reported that “Last month, U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Amanda Eversole sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Sec. Anthony Foxx that questioned Austin’s eligibility as a finalist in the Transportation Department’s Smart City Challenge.”
“Austin’s current, and more strict regulations, Eversole argued, are not conducive to the program’s goals,” according to Fortune. “Her argument is intended to pressure Austin’s government into backing down on its fingerprinting rule by pointing out the potential financial consequences.”
People in Austin can look up their polling place here.
Full disclosure: I cannot vote in the election because I don’t live in Austin. I’m also a licensed Lyft driver, although I have not given any rides yet.