In the month following Uber and Lyft’s cessation of operations within the City of Austin, DWI arrests are up 7.5% in the capital city — according new data from the Austin Police Department. Now, with a vacuum of transportation options resulting from onerous regulations — which may have caused the uptick — the City of Austin is conducting sting operations against drivers trying to fill the void.
You read that correctly — the Austin Ground Transportation Regulation Division conducted sting operations against the peer-to-peer ride service Arcade City over the weekend. On Friday, four drivers with the group ‘Arcade City’ were cited for operating without a valid operating authority and operating without a valid city chauffeur permit.
The City also impounded their vehicles, resulting in thousands of dollars in fines to the drivers.
It truly is amazing – and in many cases, tragic – that the city is going to such great lengths to limit their citizens’ transportation options. While regulatory proponents will say voters approved the ballot measure, the confusing language on May’s ballot was nebulous, at best. It’s also currently the subject of two lawsuits — one of which was brought forth by Councilmember Don Zimmerman in his official capacity.
Would-be riders aren’t the only ones hurting from the oppressive regulatory framework the city adopted. Many drivers have lost their sole source of income. Additionally, bars have reported a significant drop in patronage and profit since the ordinance was adopted — making the uptick in DWI arrests even more significant.
So while the notoriously left-wing city claims to care about it’s own citizens, it’s ill-conceived policies are stifling technological innovation, jobs, and local businesses.
Considering that ‘public safety’ was the stated impetus for imposing onerous regulations, it is ironic Austin is already seeing blowback in the first month. Such regulations hardly ever achieve their stated purpose, and as seems to be the case here, actually make the problem they claimed to care about, even worse.