The people of Austin can hail a horse and buggy to get around town tonight, a side effect of Uber’s battle against tougher regulations for ride hailing services being proposed by city hall, the Statesman reports.
They’re calling the service “Kitchen’s Uber” after council member Ann Kitchen, one of the main proponents of the legislation. Austin City Council, like many other city councils around the world, is considering legislation that would impose stricter rules on services like Uber. That would include a $1 per ride fee paid by ride hailing companies, with the funds to go towards city infrastructure, fingerprint-based background checks for drivers, and a mandate for companies to buy more comprehensive insurance. The council will vote on the measures on Nov. 16.
“There’s an appropriate fee we need to come up with,” council member Kitchen told KXAN while discussing the proposed bills last month. “Because they should pay fees like all the other ground transportation does.”
Uber says the plan would make their drivers subject to the same requirements as horse and carriage drivers in Austin.
“Council Member Kitchen’s plan would impose 19th Century regulations on 21st Century technology,” Debbee Hancock, Uber Texas spokesperson, said in a statement. “Uber has improved mobility for half a million people in Austin, but Council Member Kitchen’s proposal would take Austin backwards and eliminate this reliable transportation option.”