Austin City Council members call ride-hailing ads misleading

Some statements in advertisements urging voters to approve the upcoming ballot proposition regarding ride-hailing company regulations are inaccurate, Austin City Council members Delia Garza, Kathie Tovo, Ann Kitchen, Ora Houston and Sabino "Pio" Renteria said in an April 19 press conference.

On May 7 voters will decide whether some city regulations on ride-hailing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, stand or are repealed.

"Uber and Lyft are running a deceptive campaign in a blatant attempt to confuse voters and allow the corporations to write their own public safety rules," Garza said. "They claim that a vote for [the ride-hailing ballot proposition] would keep Uber and Lyft doing criminal background checks when it would actually eliminate the fingerprint requirements, which is the most accurate way to ensure the true identity of a driver."

Kitchen said some misleading ads claim the defeat of Proposition 1—the ride-hailing ballot question—would require the city to fund or oversee a fingerprint-based background check program.

"Uber's [claim that] a vote against Proposition 1 will require a city takeover of background checks misrepresents the process and is an attempt to deceive the voters," she said, adding that the current city regulations allow an "approved third party" to run the checks.

Travis Considine, a spokesperson for advocacy group Ridesharing Works for Austin, said it is the city-written ballot proposition language that is misleading.

“It is because the ballot language was crafted to be misleading to voters that the vote for Prop. 1 campaign is necessary at all," Considine said in an email. "City Council has not prepared for a city takeover of the system. The council has yet to specify how much it will cost taxpayers to properly administer the program when they take it over. They also haven't provided any responsive information to ensure compliance with the ordinance.”
By Emilie Shaughnessy
Emilie covers community news in Central Austin and is the beat reporter for Austin City Council. She started with Community Impact Newspaper in 2015 after working as a journalist in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.


MOST RECENT

Austin government, nonprofit and business leaders recently participated in a weeks-long summit centered on unsheltered homelessness in the city. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Plan to house 3,000 homeless individuals in Austin in the next three years would cost $515 million

The plan Austin City Council members discussed April 20 emerged from a weekslong community-wide summit on homelessness.

Photo of Zilker Park
Travis County establishes Civilian Conservation Corps to tackle climate, environmental projects

The program will create opportunities for residents to work on projects including wildfire prevention, solar energy promotion and park cleanups.

Residents march to the Texas Capitol in protests after the killing of George Floyd in May 2020. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Austin leaders react to Derek Chauvin guilty verdict

The former Minneapolis police officer was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter for the killing of George Floyd in May 2020.

At an in-person information session at the Austin Community College Pinnacle campus April 17, Colorado River Constructors spokesperson Laurie Simmons said the campus is the company’s preferred choice for a batch concrete plant. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
'No toxic batch plant': Southwest Austin residents protest proposed Pinnacle site for Oak Hill Parkway concrete production

Colorado River Constructors officials said the ACC Pinnacle site would be the safest and least impactful to local residents.

Austin Public Health Director Stephanie Hayden-Howard speaks to reporters March 13 at the Delco Actiity Center in Northeast Austin. Residents can walk up to the Delco Center on April 22 and 23 and receive vaccines without an appointment. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin Public Health will accept walk-up vaccinations at the Delco Activity Center starting April 22

APH will also leave its registration portal open throughout most of the week.

Early voting for the May 1 election runs April 19-27. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Hays County reports 500 votes in first day of early voting

Education-related election items in Hays County include $443.5 million in bonds as well as city council positions, school board seats and municipal utility district directors.

Early voting for Travis County's May 1 local elections opened April 19. In this file photo, voters line up ahead of the 2020 primary elections at Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex in East Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
More than 8,000 Travis County voters cast ballots on first day of early voting

Early voting for the county's May 1 election began April 19 and will run through April 27.

The Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin is one of the locations where residents can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. (Jack Flalger/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin vaccine updates: Demand slows as state begins marketing push

Appointments are beginning to go unfilled, and local health officials say demand has caught up to supply. All adults in the U.S. are now eligible to be vaccinated.

Blue Corn Harvest Leander is located at 11840 Hero Way W., Bldg. A, Leander. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Blue Corn Harvest opens in Leander; park, pizzeria launches social club and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Photo of two performers on an outdoor SXSW stage
South by Southwest sells ownership stake in company to Rolling Stone owner Penske Media Corp.

SXSW leadership called the sale a "lifeline" for the conference and festivals.

The Southwest Austin median home price topped $500,000 for the first time in March. (Nicholas Cicale/Community impact Newspaper)
SW Austin median home price reaches $530,000 in March, up 32.8% from last year

The median home price topped $500,000 for the first time in March.

Photo of people receiving vaccines in a gym
Austin Public Health lengthens windows for vaccine appointment signups

Residents age 18 and up can now sign up for appointments with APH any time from Saturday to Tuesday morning.