Uber, Lyft and the Ridesharing Exodus in Austin

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Austin is a mess right now.

We’ve been forced back to the dark ages before ride sharing was embedded into our lives.

Due to unnecessary government intervention:

  • Thousands of people are out of jobs (Forbes)
  • Unregulated underground ridesharing has exploded (TWC)
  • Hospitality revenue reportedly drops 20% (TWC)
  • Startups are breaking the law to fill the void (Austin Monitor)

It sucks.

Right now you can step off a plane almost anywhere in the world and call a car with your smartphone in minutes… except for Austin.

But blame for the ridesharing exodus solely belongs to Uber and Lyft.

Why?

Because with an $8.6 million dollar war chest, they ran a HORRIBLE campaign that failed to get voters out to the polls.

There are two main reasons why:

First we’re young and we’re American… we don’t vote.

We especially don’t get out and vote for small bills like Prop 1.

Second everyone I talked to expected Prop 1 to pass because it just made sense.

We figured everyone else would vote because who doesn’t like using Uber and why the hell would we waste our time going to a polling station, waiting in line and voting especially after the mess at primary day.

Uber and Lyft failed to understand that:

Without incentive, you can’t expect millennials to do ANYTHING!

Well Ben everyone should have been incentivized to vote for Prop 1 to keep Uber and Lyft in town!

This is true.

However all of us frame arguments and opinions based off of experience.

No one knew how much of an impact the ride sharing exodus would have on Austin. They’ve never pulled operations from a city so large before.

So here’s how Uber and Lyft win if / when this becomes an issue again: 

COMPLETELY SHUT DOWN FOR A FULL WEEK PRIOR TO THE VOTE.

Just like it is now, a full ride sharing shutdown will be the only thing people will be talking about. Only after being fully cognizant of the reality and incentivized to keep their lifestyle in tact, people will get out and vote.

Additionally I would make both services FREE for the entire week when voting is taking place. I think both companies were only offering $10 credit during that time. I’m not sure how the hell you spend $8.6 million in ads and then get all cheap when it comes to driving people to the polls.

For all of the Uber / Lyft execs out there reading this that is your playbook and that is how you win.

Going forward I’ll take half of your budget next time around and I promise you this won’t happen again.

  • http://salesability.co Damian Thompson

    A pre-vote strike is a brilliant idea. Uber & Lyft need to use that in their next city playbook. There will be more of these as local taxi lobbies see it works.

    • http://benhebert.com/ Ben Hebert

      I’m not sure if other cities will follow. Austin is taking a ton of shit from startup / biz / EVERY community on the planet right now.