Monday, May 4, 2015

Uber Could Be Shutdown in 30 Days

The latest news in Austin, is Uber is not complying with data requirements that the city is expecting to be reported quarterly and Uber agreed to do when a temporary ordinance pass in October of 2014.  The city transportation department has sent city council the following letter.  If Uber does not comply within 30 days, then it could be shutdown.

KEYE news first heard of the letter on May 2nd and asked for my comment.  I was on the 6pm and 10PM news.

10PM News on KEYE:

6PM News on KEYE:

The data where the Uber data was disclosed was during a Feb 10th Austin transportation committee meeting.  Below is the video and a summary of what was discussed.

Summary of the report:

- 138,000 Total Uber Trips in December 2014
- 66% in Austin Downtown + surrounding areas 78701-5
- Most trips in 78701 zip code
- 86K trips Start or end in 78701 downtown area
- 12min average trips length
- They believe this is new trips, since no drop in Taxi ride numbers
- 10,457 Uber drop off to Airport
- 25K average Taxi rides per month
- 5,624 Uber pickups from Airport
- 3,000,000 total trips for Taxi rides in 2014

To me this is a question of privacy.  Why does the city of Austin need to know the names of customers and their start and end destination?  The city also regulates restaurants and hotels, but they don't ask for customer names and where they are going.  Once this information is own by the city, then it is subject to the Federal Open Records Act and has to be disclosed to the public.  I don think passengers will like to know that there personal information could be kept by the city and open to anyone to view.  

When the city workers were asked why they needed this information, the below was there response 5 years ago.  They basically eluded to prevent 'fake trip tickets' and potentially preventing a Limo business for being a money launder?