Prop 2: Rider Fingerprint Background Checks
Rejoice! Fiercely-proud and adamantly-weird, Austinites have banded together in great numbers to thwart the evil rise of our would-be Uberwellian oppressors. The proverbial shot across the bow was heard far and wide as the citizenry rallied in the thousands and halted an egregious attempt at subversion designed to trick the witless nitwits into unwittingly sacrificing their last chance at The Austopian Dream.
Ordinance #20151217–075 has shown that while our fearless city council may not have a firm grasp on the basics of digital publishing, they absolutely know how to protect the coddled citizenry from their own stupidity.
In order to establish Austin as the global leader in regulatory innovation, we must reflect on this battle-hardened legislation capable of surviving an assault from even the biggest and scariest of uber-black unicorns.
Fancy Squiggly Thing 13–2–514: Dynamic Pricing
Never again will you have to worry about an unscrupulous Transportation Networking Company (TNC) tricking you into paying more than expected by sneakily hiding the true cost of your ride until it is too late to piss and moan about it.
The genius of this regulatory work of art cannot be understated, and should be applied to all shady business practices aimed at fooling us into unjustly parting with our hard-earned dollars.
Properly implemented, this type of regulation can save us from financially ruinous Tinder dates by outlawing all “Market Price” restaurant menu items, prevent us from losing out to some overpaying idiot on that second-hand lawnmower purchase by prohibiting “OBO” pricing on Craigslist, and spare us the dread and despair inflicted by the possibility of receiving a “Mystery” Dum Dum sucker at the bank drive-through by requiring proper flavor-disclosures on all candy treats.
Finally! Relief from price-gougers jacking up rates when demand outstrips supply. No longer do you have to worry about paying a ludicrous 10x surge fare to the opportunistic crook driving you to safety during a hurricane. Not expecting a ride at all is a small price to pay for correcting this capitalistic injustice (What person in their right-mind would risk bodily harm transporting self-righteous cheapskates in exchange for a paltry inadequate wage?).
While we are at it, we should prohibit hotels and Airbnb operators from charging exorbitant rates during SXSW; it is simply unfair that we allow profiteering citizens to subsidize their outlandishly high rents by housing non-Austin weirdos with fat wallets during our annual Hipster Week. Additionally, we should punish scalpers, scammers, and StubHub for charging more than face-value for concert tickets on the secondary market; I’ll be damned if I pay more than the rest of the cattle packing into Zilker park for our dual-weekend “Pretend You Are Livestock” ACL extravaganza. And perhaps most importantly, we should impose strict price controls on our beloved Whole Foods, because having access to low-priced certified organic kumquats is a fundamental human right.
FST 13–2–515: Identification
I don’t know about you, but I was starting to worry that these irresponsible TNCs were going to stop including the most basic of usability features into their apps. The thought of accidentally hopping into the wrong Prius keeps me up at night.
We should however be outraged that it is not yet required by law that Favor, pizza delivery, and UPS drivers email us their mug shots prior to approaching our homes in order to save us from the possibility of opening the front door to a complete stranger.
FST 13–2–528: Driver Hours
This is a valiant step towards insuring that our private drivers are well rested and in good form, but it doesn’t go far enough. It is imperative that we require all drivers to wear activity/sleep tracking devices reporting directly to the city council at all times, and we must codify into law hourly quotas for restful sleep, exercise, and leisure time as a prerequisite to performing any drive-for-hire operations.
FST 13–2–531: Off-Application and Street-Hails Prohibited
This provision is deserving of applause. It’s not hard to imagine what a mess it would be if people started standing on the street corner with their hands out trying to flag down a ride instead of tapping a button on their phones and having a private driver arrive specifically for them in 30 seconds.
FST 13–2–532: TNC Fees
Speaking of standing out on a street corner with your hand out, what a shame it would be if Austin — a city steeped in rich tradition — lost its fleet of quaint yellow taxis plastered with advertisements for strip clubs and energy drinks. This provision is a rare win-win-win (that isn’t bi-winning, it’s tri-winning) that levels the playing field for the struggling taxi industry, finances our city council’s heroic nanny-state initiatives, and encourages drivers to forget about this whole mess and quit when Uber passes the costs on to them in the form of decreased fare splits.
I can’t think of a better way to foster robust innovation than to tax it to the breaking point.
FST 13–2–527: Driver Eligibility — Criminal Background and Driver History Checks
And finally, the most important provision, the infallible fingerprint criminal background check. How on earth are we going to protect the rich elite needing rides to cocktail charity balls from the murders and rapists luring them into their cars? As a product of 1980’s era brainwashing, I‘m convinced that all strangers are child-abductors, rapists and murders. Just because most of my Uber drivers have purported to be moms, university students, and out-of-work high-tech engineers doesn’t mean they aren’t secretly trying to rob or kill me.
We all know the saying “guilty until proven innocent,” and instead of treating strangers like the decent human beings they likely are, we should treat them like criminals first.
It is a well understood fact however, that taxi driving is one of the most dangerous jobs in america. While this provision will surely protect the passengers from bad-acting drivers, how are we going to protect the drivers from the passengers? You might argue that it is unfair to equate the two risks as equal because only the driver is behind the wheel, however the roles are easily reversed with the presence of a handgun pointed at the driver’s side.
Fortunately for us, our nanny-state city council is way ahead of us, and has already proposed measures to incentivize both drivers and riders to subject themselves voluntarily to fingerprint background checks before choosing to trust each other.
Like a progressively modern yellow star, I hope you’re excited for the realization of our grand subtopian future where all applicable individuals voluntarily identify themselves as government-certified trustworthy.