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Democrats to ban Uber, Lyft in Austin, Texas, as local bureaucrats destroy the free market to protect monopolies

Uber ridesharing

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(NaturalNews) With the click of a button, you can have a private car operated by a friendly, knowledgeable local driver waiting for you in minutes, quickly shuffling you to work, the grocery store or even home from the bar after you've had a few drinks.

However, this convenience, which has become invaluable to the lives of Austinites, is about to be ripped away by a Democrat-controlled government that favors monopolies over a free market, as well as the freedom of its citizens.

Ridesharing, as they call it, has skyrocketed in popularity as traffic congestion reaches an all-time in major cities worldwide. Answering the demand for faster, safer rides are rideshare companies Uber and Lyft, which accommodate thousands of riders all over the U.S. – with Uber now operating on six continents.

Here in Austin, Texas, the Live Music Capital of World, ridesharing has become an absolute necessity since Uber and Lyft first started offering their services in the city last year.

With a migration rate higher than most U.S. cities, Austin's traffic is becoming increasingly more congested, with traffic fatalities nearly reaching an all-time high; more than 64 percent of them involve drug and alcohol impairment.

Uber provides Austinites with 2.5 million rides a year

In a city driven by music festivals, an exemplary nightlife and, of course, lots of drinking, ridesharing seems to be the answer for keeping drunk drivers off the road and relieving traffic congestion in Austin.

However, all of that is about to come to an end as the bureaucrats are preparing to push the transportation service out of the city unless they agree to some stiff regulations, which are being demanded by overregulating Democrats on the Austin City Council, who have vowed to protect the taxi monopoly.

Spearheaded by Council Member Ann Kitchen, the Mobility Committee wants to force rideshare companies to pay the city $1 for each ride and require minimum insurance coverage and Department of Public Safety-certified background checks for drivers, who will also have to submit their 10 fingerprints to continue working.

Uber says the proposed rider fee would be one of the highest in the nation.

All public drivers are required to submit their fingerprints and pay fees to the city, argues Kitchen, who says it's not fair to the taxis and is willing to eliminate ridesharing completely as Uber and Lyft are unlikely to agree to the strict terms.

Requiring fingerprints is "too burdensome," said officials with Uber and Lyft.

"Drivers working fewer than 20 hours a week are critical to the reliability of their services, they say, and requiring them to visit an office to be fingerprinted dissuades many from signing up," reports The Texas Tribune.

Councilman Don Zimmerman, who helped initiate hearings to stop water fluoridation in Austin, disagrees with Kitchen.

"Let's deregulate the taxis and the limousines so they can compete in the free market and let the market decide what security and background checks are necessary."

So far, no Austinites have called for more security.

Millennials wake up to monopolistic government in Austin

Kitchen is essentially waging war against Austinites and their transportation needs, siding instead with taxi drivers, the majority of whom aren't even from Austin but from other countries such as Nigeria.

"If the constituents send hundreds of email messages to us, and they show up, and they really want something done on STR (short-term rental) regulations, they're CALLING for the council to take action," Zimmerman said.

"That simply is not the case with TNCs [transportation network companies, a.k.a. ridesharing companies]. There is no grassroots constituent demand for us to go and increase regulation on the TNCs."

The push to ban ridesharing has been a loud wake-up call for Austin millennials as they begin to realize that bad, monopolistic government is everywhere.

"Nothing better demonstrates the cronyism of bad government like the banning of ridesharing and other peer-to-peer gig economy services. It's no surprise that this ban is taking place in Austin, a city run by corrupt leftist control freaks who are hell bent on destroying the free market and harming consumers at every opportunity," says Mike Adams, the Health Ranger and founder of AlternativeNews.com.

"While most of Texas has the sense to respect free market dynamics in the public interest, Austin's city council is largely a cesspool of bad ideas assembled by mentally incompetent control-freaks who hate freedom."

Uber's Austin Mobility Case Study

Uber released its Austin Mobility Case Study[PDF] ahead of today's meeting, finding that the average wait time for an Uber driver is three minutes and one second.

Ninety-one percent of Uber drivers said the gig helps them earn more money to support them and their family, while 74 percent said their reasons for driving for Uber were "to help maintain a steady income because other sources of income are unstable/unpredictable."

The study also found "a statewide spike in ride requests in the middle of the night on weekends," which is exactly when alcohol-related car accidents are the most common.

Research shows an approximate 5 percent drop in alcohol-related driving fatalities in California following the introduction of ridesharing, an effect that "builds over time as the network matures," Uber says.

Click here to sign a petition that would keep Uber in Austin.

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