It’s a convenience that many of us have gotten used to in a very short time. With nothing more than a smartphone app, you can request a ride, watch the car make its way to you in real-time, and within a few minutes, a driver shows up in their own car to take you where you need to go. Once the ride’s done, there’s no cash involved, and your payment (and tip, if you’re a Lyft user) is handled within the app. Still, for all the streamlined amenity, there’s a growing contention between the companies that provide this service and those who feel the drivers should be held to stricter guidelines in the interest of public safety.
The most public debate thus far between Uber and Lyft, the two main Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) and local governments just took place in Austin, Texas — a city known for its active nightlife and tech-friendliness as well as its subpar public transportation, unreliable cab service, and some of the nation’s worst traffic. All considering, TNCs seemed like they’d be the perfect elixir. But there was one major point of contention: regulation.