News & Politics

After Austin Kills Off Uber and Lyft, New Ride-sharing Service Surfaces

After the government and voters of Austin decided to impose restrictions on ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft, the companies bailed out of Austin, TX, and left residents without their services.

A new app is in the works that avoids the city’s regulations and uses a peer-to-peer relationship.

It’s called “Arcade City”, and it’s a Facebook group right now, with an app in the works that will hopefully be released in the next month.

The group launched, and within less than a week it had more than 10,000 people signed up ready to drive and ride. “I really think that people in the city are genuinely upset with all that happened. Not just one side or the other. They’re not throwing money into a big company, they are helping their fellow Austinites out either way,” said Solomon Hapshie who signed up for Arcade City to drive people around.

The CEO and founder Christopher David describes the effort as a “movement to build a decentralized ridesharing platform.” The key word here being “decentralized.”

The way the service works is that riders post the specifics about a trip, and drivers respond to the inquiry. The rider gets to pick among potential drivers to take them to their destination.

“We are really more like a Craigslist or Match.com. We are just providing a way for riders and drivers to find each other, said David.  He also pointed out the new service is trying to help out the 10,000 people who no longer have jobs.  “Drivers are really seeing this as an opportunity to brand themselves as entrepreneurs and connect directly with their customer base. That’s what Arcade City is all about. We want drivers to set their own rates but be empowered to build up their own recurring customer base and something that’s not going to be taken away from them.”

The big-government left fails to understand that businesses will close up if their bottom line is affected by regulations. No one starts a business to lose money or operate as a charity. Innovative people will always find a way to skirt oppressive government regulations or simply not innovate and society will lose out. One of the main reasons the sharing-economy companies have  been so successful is they have come up with a business model that avoids government regulations that have traditionally prohibited the entry to market for new ideas. Once it becomes too difficult to turn a profit, entrepreneurs will check out of the process. And it’s not just the lack of innovation that has consequences for society; the jobs new companies bring to communities disappear and the tax revenue that comes from higher employment also vanishes.

Will the citizens and government of Austin figure out a way to regulate this new operation? Who knows, but I bet they’ll try.