People Were Stranded In Austin Because Of Uber And Lyft Restrictions

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor
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People across Austin, Texas, including attendees of the SXSW conference, couldn’t hail rides over the weekend because Uber and Lyft are not allowed to operate in the city and the apps for alternative ride-sharing services were not working.

Ride Austin, one of the more popular local services, was down for approximately five hours Saturday night, while the annual tech, film and music conference was underway. Fasten, the other big player in Austin’s ride-sharing market, wasn’t working for an hour or so during of one the busiest points of the event, according to TechCrunch.

Due to inclement weather and the surge in tourism for the gathering, there was a substantial uptick in ride demand leading to the two app’s becoming inoperative. The platforms became so inundated with requests that users were either notified that there were no cars available or they were stuck on a loading screen, reports TechCrunch.

“Our personal apologies in letting you down for several hours tonight,” Ride Austin wrote on an official Facebook post. “We were sporadic from 7:15p.m. to midnight due to a previously undiscovered database issue that did not emerge during our scale testing. We believe it’s fully solved and will not occur again.” (RELATED: New Massachusetts Tax Takes Money From Uber To Fund Failing Taxi Companies)

Ride Austin’s main competitor also addressed its shortcomings.

“Unfortunately, we were down for a little bit less than an hour last night,” Kirill Evdakov, the CEO of Fasten, told Recode. “It was Saturday night, so during the busiest hour of the busiest night.” (RELATED: Dem Who Tried To Kill Uber Took Bundles Of Money From Taxi Industry)

Uber, which has raised billions of dollars and become the premier go-to ride-sharing tech service, is known for having its platform work fluently for the most part, while other less popular apps reportedly become faulty during times of high demand like New Years Eve.

While Uber and Lyft were not explicitly banned from Austin, the two tech companies felt it could not properly operate in the area after its multimillion dollar plan to rewrite local rules was rejected by city officials and residents.

Some of the regulations Uber and Lyft wanted to overturn were mandating that drivers undergo fingerprint-based background checks, as well as a strict forbiddance of picking up and dropping off customers while in traffic lanes, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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