Survey to look at impact of Uber and Lyft’s Austin exit

(AP File Photo)
(AP File Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Researchers are nearing deadline for a survey of Austin ridership and the effect of Uber and Lyft’s departure from Austin.

“We want to know if those people that were using Uber and Lyft, if they are still making those types of trips,” said Chris Simek, an assistant transportation research scientist with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

He says the institute is partnering with the Michigan Transportation Research Institute for the online survey, which will end on Dec. 31. They aim to get a closer look at what riders of Uber and Lyft are using for transportation options now.

“We give between 40,000 and 50,000 rides a week right now,” said Joe Deshotel with the non-profit ride-hailing app Ride Austin.

Ride Austin is one of several organizations that began offering services in Austin after Uber and Lyft’s departure. “So really it is just a matter of getting the word out and getting people to realize that there are other companies out here that can provide this service,” said Deshotel.

The survey comes as talks about law changes continue.

Austin city leaders passed fingerprint background checks in Austin, which prompted Uber and Lyft to leave. The companies are now looking toward the Texas Capitol.

No matter where people live in the Lone Star State, they deserve the same economic opportunity and access to reliable transportation options that Uber provides. That is why we are encouraged that the Texas Legislature is interested in replicating the great work many Texas cities have already implemented. We look forward to working with lawmakers across the state to ensure that all Texans have the ability to access a safe, reliable, and affordable ride 24/7 at the push of a button.”
Trevor Theunissen, Uber Texas Public Affairs Lead

This is an excerpt from a recent Lyft memo:

Currently, inconsistent city-level ridesharing regulations are preventing the creation of an effective transportation network in Texas. This patchwork of local rules is stifling growth, economic exchange and overall interconnectivity. City boundaries are expanding further and further, and residents regularly travel outside their city for work and entertainment. For a state whose population is expected to increase by over 21.5 million between 2020 and 2070, the fractured system of regulations is unworkable and is making transportation challenges worse for all Texans.

Simek says more than 600 people had taken the survey Thursday, but researchers are hoping for at least 1,000 responses.