In January 2016, the membership of Friends of Austin Neighborhoods (FAN) voted to oppose onerous new regulations that would jeopardize the choices and benefits ride sharing (e.g. Uber and Lyft) provided after the Austin City Council originally legalized and regulated it in 2014.
Our ride sharing resolution and letter was as follows:
Ride sharing companies, or transportation network companies (TNCs), provide an important mobility option for residents of our neighborhoods by connecting drivers and passengers with a seamless user experience. Friends of Austin Neighborhoods (FAN) supports the original TNC regulations the Austin City Council passed in 2014, and we oppose onerous rules that would jeopardize the many positive experiences neighbors have enjoyed so far.
Ride sharing empowers ordinary neighborhood residents to earn income while enabling families to access employment, goods, and services without the expense and burden of owning multiple cars. It provides “last mile” connectivity to destinations beyond the reach of public transportation, thereby making public transportation a more viable option. FAN supports residents making their own choices about whether the ride sharing experience works for them.
Since the City Council approved the original TNC regulations in 2014, drunk driving incidents have declined. Additional regulations that unduly burden TNC drivers, such as requiring fingerprinting, place obstacles on Austinites seeking to earn income by driving for a TNC, would ultimately lead to less access to ride sharing, and could cause an increase in drunk driving incidents.
We urge you to reconsider the recent imposition of additional regulations and to focus on how they may negatively affect the experiences of ordinary Austin residents.
Starting Monday, April 25, 2016 and ending Tuesday, May 7, 2016, Austinites will have a chance to vote on Proposition 1, which would overturn the onerous ride sharing regulations that City Council adopted. Voting FOR the proposition would roll back these restrictions and revert to the previous set of regulations Council adopted in 2014. Voting AGAINST the proposition would keep in place the more onerous restrictions. For the precise ballot language and other information, please see the League of Women Voters (LWV) Voters Guide for the May 2016 election.
Empowered by a strong supermajority in the aforementioned vote of its membership, FAN took a position equivalent to supporting Proposition 1 in the upcoming election. FAN recommends that Austinites vote FOR Proposition 1.
FAN respects and appreciates the diverse views of all neighbors, and we recognize the regulations on transportation network companies (TNCs) and drivers are an emotional and divisive issue for some Austinites. As always, we welcome all Austinites to share their viewpoints in the FAN forum and to vote in a manner that best advances the interests of their neighbors and the citywide community.