The ultimatum was Uber and Lyft’s third and fatal mistake. We don’t take kindly to threats. Right before the election they announced that if they didn’t get their way they would maroon all the customers and leave. As my friend Mark Seiler said, “That just brought out my inner gorilla.”
Will the Battle of Austin become a model for other cities looking to regulate ride-sharing companies? Maybe. What it does show, though, is that Uber and Lyft will have a harder time bullying cities with strong local identities, places where convenience is not the same as necessity, especially when the price is selling out a large chunk of public control.
If nothing else, folks in Austin are feeling pretty good about themselves this week. We may be slackers, but we’re not pushovers.