Austin Runs Stings On New Ride Sharing Alternative

acIt’s called Arcade City, and they say it’s an even more anti-establishment version of Uber and Lyft. The middleman is completely cut out.

From their webpage:

What if riders and drivers were free to connect peer-to-peer with no middleman?

We know you’re accustomed to dealing with archaic institutions like governments and corporations.

We believe there’s a better way.

For a few months we’ve been laying the groundwork for a true decentralized ridesharing service — what some are now calling the ‘Uber killer’.

When Uber pulled out of Midland and Corpus Christi, Arcade City drivers entered. Even before we released the first version of our app, drivers took initiative and connected directly with riders on Facebook.

No concern about red tape or corporate BS — just people providing people a needed service.

Well, the city of Austin, TX, fresh off of kicking out Uber and Lyft, is now cracking down on Arcade City by running undercover stings on drivers, citing them and impounding their cars.

KVUE reports:

The service came into play after Austin voted ‘No’ to Proposition 1, and Uber and Lyft left town. Undercover detectives performed a sting operation Friday night: including one on Nueces and 3rd Street. There, they ticketed and impounded the cars of four Arcade City drivers. Most of the drivers used to work for Uber or Lyft.

“When they left, I had no source of income, period,” Cheri Hawes said. “‘Arcade City’ came in and thank God they did, because that was really what supplemented my income. That’s how I take care of my family.”

Hawes said Friday night two guys got in her car and agreed to pay her $15 for the ride. But when she dropped them off, that’s when she saw two police cars behind her.

“I was very upset,” Hawes said.  “I asked him ‘Please do not impound my car. I’m not going to be able to pay these fines, let alone my car getting out of impound and it is my source of income’.”
The officers cited her for not having a valid chauffeur’s permit and for not having operating authority. Her car was also impounded.

It cost $220 to get Hawes’ car out of impound, and each of the citations she received cost up to $500.

Activist Post adds that ride sharing services decreased the number of drunk driving instances in Austin, which have since gone up after Uber and Lyft were banned:

According to local CBS-affiliate KEYE TV, DWI arrests have increased 7.5 percent between May and June in the city of Austin in Texas. What changed? Uber and Lyft left town on May 9.

“The Austin Police Department released new numbers to KEYE TV that show there were 359 DWI arrests from May 9, the day Uber and Lyft shut down, to May 31st of this year,” KEYE TV reported. “Last year during the same time period, there were 334 arrests. That’s a 7.5 percent increase in the weeks following their departure.”

But before the ridesharing apps were essentially banned from Austin, Uber released a statement claiming drunk driving crashes had been decreasing in the region since the app became popular among locals. They urged Austin residents to help stand with them. A Politifact report reviewed Uber’s claim, ruling the ridesharing giant was mostly correct. Since ridesharing entered the Austin market, the rate of DWI crashes dropped 23 percent, suggesting that, perhaps, making rides widely available correlated with the rate shift.

Austin police chief Art Acevado can be reached at 512 974 5000.

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