by Julie Tisdale
City & County Policy Analyst
It’s not surprising. Set up additional hoops for entrepreneurs to jump through, and you’ll kill entrepreneurial activity. Put barriers in the way of people looking to work, and you’ll reduce the services they provide.
Such has been the predictable outcome of a recent vote in Austin, TX, which quashed an exemption from fingerprint background checks for Uber and Lyft drivers. Following the vote, and facing the additional burden of having to be fingerprinted and undergo background checks by the city, 10,000 drivers for the two companies across Austin have decided not to work.
There are really two sets of losers here. First, there are the drivers, who are losing out on the income they otherwise would have had. And, of course, this also affects families supported by that income.
But the other losers are residents of Austin who now have fewer options for getting around – 10,000 fewer options. They can drive themselves or hail traditional taxis, but there’s a reason Austin has 10,000 Uber and Lyft drivers. People like that mode of transportation. And now they’ve lost it.
City governments and local voters be warned. By imposing these sorts of additional barriers, you may end up shooting yourself in the foot.