Why Uber Leaving Austin, Texas and Wasn’t Terrible for Austinites

Back to news Published 6 months ago Written By Odometer Team
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You can’t order an Uber in Austin, Texas. The ride hailing company suspended its operations in May 2016 after the City of Austin imposed strict regulations on the famously belligerent behemoth. Austin wanted fingerprinting during driver background checks, cars marked with the Uber logo and strict pickup and dropoff rules for passengers.

Why did Uber leave?

Austin wanted Uber to fundamentally modify the functionality of its app for Austin. They wanted to see passengers select a driver and allow the driver and passenger to privately negotiate a rate. Austin also asked Uber to support other payment options, such as cash, PayPal and Square.

Uber wasn't pleased, and they left, disappointing drivers and passengers alike.

Uber drivers lost their jobs

Austin is a city with a million residents, but only 900 licensed cabs. Prior to Uber's departure, there were 10,000 Uber drivers in Austin. Business for Uber drivers, we understand, was booming.

New opportunities

It turns out there is a silver lining for the 10,000 former Uber drivers and innumerable former Uber passengers. When Uber was in Austin, it dominated the ride hailing and ride sharing market in the city. It operated essentially uncontested. When Uber left, alternative options sprung up almost immediately, with new startups developing new services in compliance with the City's regulations. Some passengers claim that new alternative options are even better than Uber.

Smaller ventures and a niche market

Austin startups such as Get Me, Fare, Fasten and Wingz are trying their best to fill the void left by Uber. Wingz, as one example, has proven to be extremely beneficial for drivers because they can pre-schedule trips to the airport, which allows them to better manage their time and earn more.

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