RideAustin users drop by a third after return of Uber and Lyft

RideAustin app launches in Austin on May 23, 2016. (Screenshot of App)
RideAustin app launches in Austin on May 23, 2016. (Screenshot of App)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Local ride-hailing company RideAustin says they have seen a 36 percent decline in their ride volume this week in compared to last week, when Uber and Lyft were not operating in Austin.

“Now we need your help to keep our local non-profit alive,” the group sent out in an email. The ride-hailing giants returned to Austin on Monday, more than a year after the two companies left, when an attempt to do away with the city’s fingerprint-based background checks for drivers failed.

RideAustin focused on its more than $250,000 raised for local charities — mostly going to Austin Pets Alive!, Paws of Austin and Dell Children’s Medical Center — in its appeal to customers.

The company claims they’ve provided nearly two million rides to Austin. They also say they will continue to respect the wishes of Austin voters and fingerprint new drivers.

“We’ve had Austin’s back and now we need your help,” the email read. “You have a choice in how you ride, and whether your money stays right here in Austin — or goes to Silicon Valley billionaires.”

Gov. Abbott signed House Bill 100 into law Monday morning. The bill supersedes Austin’s fingerprinting requirement for ride-hailing companies.

“Texas has longtime been the home for innovation and economic growth, but a patchwork quilt of compliance complexities are forcing businesses out of the Lone Star State,” Gov. Abbott said in a statement.

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