This Week In Rideshare: Austin, $109,000, and London.

3 min readMay 3, 2024

The story behind Austin, a drivers reality check, and drivers sue Uber. LegalRideshare breaks it own.



When Uber left Austin in 2016, what happened? Star Tribune reported:

Austin lost Uber and Lyft service for more than a year after the companies fought a city ordinance requiring drivers to be fingerprinted to protect passengers. The players, the locale and the politics may differ, but the final result could be the same.

When San Antonio adopted a fingerprinting ordinance in 2015, both ridesharing companies ended service, returning only after it was deemed voluntary. After Houston required fingerprinting, Lyft left, and Uber stayed on.

Within months, a nonprofit rideshare company was formed by local tech entrepreneurs with city support called RideAustin, which permitted customers to round up their fares for local charities. Boston-based Fasten entered town, as well as several others.

Jeff Kirk, an Austin-based rideshare strategist, said about 14 rideshare apps surfaced at various times after Uber and Lyft departed. Service was often spotty. Ultimately all of them shut down, although new apps have cropped up more recently.

A $109,000 REALITY

A driver made over $109,000 but only took home $17,000. Business Insider reported:

The 40-year-old, who has been driving for Uber since 2017, was once quite satisfied with his ride-hailing income, he told Business Insider via email. But his feelings have changed considerably in recent years.

Last year, George made more than $109,000 in gross earnings as an Uber driver, according to documents viewed by BI. But after Uber’s commissions, car maintenance, gas, and miscellaneous driving expenses were accounted for, he took home roughly $17,000, about 16% of his gross earnings. In 2021, he took home about 19% of his gross earnings.

First, between his rent and other bills, he said, he can’t afford to take a job that will pay him less than ride-hailing does. And he’s not confident he’d be able to find one that checked this box.

“I would only be able to earn, say, up to $20 an hour at a brick-and-mortar job, which would leave me in pretty much the same boat, so that’s not a solution,” he said. “I don’t have a degree, so my vocation pool is limited.”


Drivers in London launch a hefty lawsuit against Uber. The Guardian reported:

More than 10,500 of London’s black-cab drivers have launched a £250m legal case against Uber, accusing it of breaking the capital’s taxi booking rules and deliberately misleading authorities to secure a licence.

The case, which has been filed in the high court in London by the litigation management firm RGL, resurrects a claim first raised five years ago, related to the way the ride-hailing app operated in London between 2012 and 2018.

Cabbies allege that Uber allowed drivers to take bookings directly from customers rather than through a centralised system such as those used by minicab services, in a direct breach of private hire rules.

Uber has denied the allegations and says the claim is unfounded.

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