A trade group representing Uber and Lyft launched a political action committee today in an effort to repeal new ridesharing regulations in Austin, Texas.
TechNet, a Washington-based organization whose members include companies like Microsoft and Cisco, said the new PAC, called Ridesharing Works for Austin, aims to deliver a petition to the city council to force a vote on repealing the forthcoming regulations.
“This effort is squarely focused on creating a workable system for ridesharing in Austin,” Caroline Joiner, regional executive director of TechNet, said in a statement. “Austin is one of the major centers of innovation in our country. It should have ridesharing rules that support innovation, not stifle it.”
The Austin City Council on Dec. 17 passed a city ordinance that would mandate companies like Uber and Lyft have fingerprint-based criminal background checks for their drivers. The new law, which is slated to take effect on Feb. 1, will “lead both companies to shut down in Austin,” TechNet said.
The current law, enacted in 2014, requires ridesharing companies to provide insurance for their drivers and to conduct criminal background checks, minus the fingerprint component.
A petition with signatures from at least 20,000 city residents is needed to either force the city council to make permanent the current law or bring a city-wide vote on the current law. The coalition led by TechNet said it expects to take at least two months to deliver the necessary signatures.
Before the city council’s December vote, Uber created an online petition to fight the proposal, calling it a “toxic plan.”