On May 7th voters will determine the future of ridesharing in Austin. With the election just days away, many Austinites are sharing their opinion on the issue. From company founders to university professors, these local influencers explain why they are voting for Proposition 1.
The following quotes are voluntary, and not paid for in any form.
"Uber and Lyft are transformative innovations, bravo! But for me that’s not the point of Prop 1. If Austin is going to be a Smart City, and remain a center of innovation and entrepreneurship, the City Council has to leave business alone, not regulate and tax it to death. Keep Austin Weird should not be Austin’s motto. Instead, Keep Austin Wired."
-Bob Metcalfe, UT Austin Professor of Innovation, Co-invented the Ethernet, Founder of 3Com
"I support Prop 1 because I've been involved with the TNC matter since the very beginning. In 2014 I was appointed by the Austin City Council to the team that put together the city's original TNC ordinance, and we spent five months going over every aspect of the companies' operations — including the background checks at the heart of the Prop 1 matter. I've seen firsthand how enmeshed TNCs have become inside Austin and its transportation network, and in turn understand how terrible it would be — for passengers, TNC drivers, and Austin on whole — if they were forced to leave town. I've also witnessed firsthand the tactics of the special-interest groups who want to drive the TNCs out, and I find their actions to be completely unconscionable. I will unequivocally state that Austin is, quite simply, a better — and safer — place with TNC service available to all."
-Jeff Kirk, Legal & Regulatory Liaison/Strategy Consultant at Kirk Consulting, Co-founder of Urban Passport
"TNCs save lives, create competition, save consumers money, breed innovation, create convenience, and make Austin great. If someone is concerned about safety, they can vote with their wallet (car or Taxi) rather than limiting the aforementioned benefits for their fellow citizens."
-Sam Decker, Cofounder of the Capital Factory, Co-Founder and CEO of Mass Relevance, Co-Founder and Chairman of Clearhead and Mashbox
"I believe Austin should Vote FOR Prop 1 because we are much safer today than we were before Lyft came to town. There are less drunk drivers on the road and I feel much safer in a Lyft than a traditional taxi because every driver is rated on every ride and the app tracks my location the whole time. People use TNCs who would never have used a taxi before, creating more than 10,000 new jobs that we can't afford to lose."
-Josh Baer, Cofounder and Executive Director of the Capital Factory, Founder of Austin Startup Week and and PostUp
"Entrepreneurs believe change is better, and we need to be a city where innovation thrives and is supported. Everyone should work together to ensure that game-changing companies, like Lyft, continue to operate here. I personally believe the city will be stronger if Prop 1 passes; innovation will be key to supporting the incredible growth happening in America's Next Biggest Boom Town."
-Rod Favaron, CEO, Spredfast
"I think ridesharing is extremely important in the Austin community for a variety of reasons. It allows for a more competitive market, which in turn allows for better pricing for consumers and gives them a choice. I don’t think taxis should have a monopoly over the sector, and that’s why we need choices. Additionally, there is a huge convenience factor associated with ridesharing. Lyft has allowed me to get a ride wherever I want, whenever I want in the city of Austin. Who wouldn’t want that?"
-Eric Silverstein, Founder, The Peached Tortilla
"I tend fall in the camp that believes the level of safety in ridesharing services is already far superior to that of the cab industry. Both Lyft and Uber strictly enforce driver rating systems and have features to track every ride that add a level of accountability and passenger security that cabs fall short on. I find Lyft's current local, state, federal and sex offender registry background checks on drivers to be more than sufficient in further ensuring passenger safety and do so without the potential of discouraging the vibrancy of the service's supply side (drivers) — the piece that I believe is most critical to public safety. There was a time when waiting 25 minutes on a street corner at 2am trying to hail a cab was the norm in Austin. Improving public safety starts by acknowledging that the old way was far less safe. I am voting FOR Prop 1."
-Sean Killian, Director of Marketing, Enola Labs
"I voted for Proposition 1 because I remember what a circus it was before Lyft started operating in Austin. If Prop 1 doesn't pass, it will be a giant step backwards for public safety. The only numbers fingerprint background checks will impact are the driver onboarding times and fares. The last thing I want is more city involvement in ridesharing."
-Kyle Sanders, Head of Search, Complete Web Resources
"As an entrepreneur, I had a deep sense TNCs were making history early on. For Lyft’s business model to work effectively, recruiting new drivers needs to be efficient, and easy for the applicant — as it is. Having each locale try to redevelop your processes kills that, and places an undue burden on the TNC industry which is probably the most popular invention since sliced bread. As I stated on stage during the KLRU Mayoral Debate in 2014, '"I have been through the Uber background check and am confident the TNC process is safe and reliable."'
-Randall Stephens, CEO, AdBirds Design & Market Inc.
"Government should have to overcome a high burden of proof before they restrict or regulate free trade between consenting adults. Restricting free trade around something that has been proven to make the community safer is just stupid. Our choice is to cling to the past or show we are willing to embrace the future."
-Joel Trammell, CEO, Khorus
"I personally love Lyft and use it frequently for its convenience, however, the main reason that I'll be voting "Yes" on Prop 1 is simple: it keeps our roads safe. In a city like Austin, where the nightlife is part of the culture, local bars draw in thousands upon thousands of people on a daily basis. It is absolutely crucial that every single person have easy access to a safe, reliable ride, and ridesharing apps like Lyft do just that by providing users with a designated driver in a moment's notice. This is an invaluable tool for anyone and everyone sharing Austin's roads."
-Macey Morrison, Community Manager, Postmates
"I will vote FOR Prop 1 because at a time when our city faces an outsized challenge with transportation, affecting everything from physical mobility to economic mobility, and at a time when we are presented with such opportunities as the US DOT Smart Cities Challenge, we cannot afford any vote other than forward progress."
-Joseph Kopser, Co-Founder, RideScout
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