A recent forum hosted by the Austin Monitor, Glasshouse Policy, and KUT-FM with an Uber representative revealed pointed to the ride-hailing company’s acceptance that the millions it spent on opposition to last year’s Proposition 1, as well as the tone of the campaign, “probably” contributed to its defeat, according to a story by Jack Craver on KUT’s website.
KUT’s Audrey McGlinchy interviewed Trevor Theunissen, regional head of public affairs for Uber, at the forum, which took place at downtown’s Ginger Man bar. Theunissen also told McGlinchy that the company is interested in returning to Austin, according to the KUT story.
Theunissen said that the ride-hailing giant likely reacted negatively to a newly structured 10-1 council overturning a law just passed by its predecessor and that council members, probably felt that “Uber and Lyft had not tried to negotiate in good faith on the measure, instead threatening to leave Austin if the city did not lift the fingerprint requirement,” Craver reported.
Interestingly, Craver also reported that Theunissen told McGlinchy that Uber would likely continue to comply with Houston’s fingerprinting requirements—the same requirement that, in Austin, sparked this conflict and ultimate departure of Uber and Lyft—at least through the Super Bowl that will be held in that city next year.
Despite all the regrets, Theunissen said Uber is actively supporting bills that would put the state, rather than cities, in charge of TNC regulation, currently being filed by Republican state senators ahead of the 2017 legislative session, according to Craver.
Theunissen also said that Uber is looking at Austin as the next city for testing its driverless cars, which it has deployed in Pittsburgh, Craver reported.
• Uber Wants to Come Back to Austin [KUT.org]