After the companies withdrew their services on May 9th, Austinites, having become accustomed to the convenience of e-hail services, reported changing their plans and searching out alternatives. A "black market" between former Uber and Lyft drivers and their passengers is already booming on sites like Craigslist. To find work, some drivers tried commuting to San Antonio, where Uber and Lyft recently resumed operations after driver fingerprint-based background checks were made optional. Meanwhile, Austin's Transportation Department began helping newly-stranded drivers by setting up job fairs to connect them with other e-hail companies, and by organizing fingerprint-check stations around town.
"Disappointment does not begin to describe how we feel about shutting down operations in Austin," said Chris Nakutis, General Manager of Uber Austin, in a statement. "For the past two years, drivers and riders made ridesharing work in this great city. We're incredibly grateful. From rallies to phone banking to knocking on doors, they spread the word. Their support was humbling and inspiring." Lyft has not yet replied to a request for comment.
Uber tries to frame itself as a pioneering business advocating in favor of innovation and community interests
"State leaders need to hear from entrepreneurs like you," Uber has urged drivers, but the rhetoric of entrepreneurship rings hollow with them