Uber combats regulations in Austin with new ad campaign

(Photo credit: Mark Warner/Flickr)

Uber is now taking its fight to the airwaves in Austin. The ride-sharing company has ordered $6,700 in ads to start running on the CW network in the Texas capital beginning today. According to FCC documents spotted on Political Ad Sleuth, they will run until Nov. 16.

That’s the day the Austin City Council is scheduled to vote on whether to charge a $1 fee per ride to pay for fingerprint background checks — Uber currently does name background checks — and mandate more comprehensive insurance.

The Austin Business Journal reports that Uber is running the ad below, wherein people implore city leaders not to take Uber away:

The ad comes on the heels of another campaign where Uber equated the proposed ordinances with the requirements for horse and carriage drivers.

The ads directly name Councilwoman Ann Kitchen, who supports the fingerprint background checks and calls Uber’s interpretation of the proposed ordinance “misleading.”

“The fact that a corporation is attacking the Council because they don’t want to comply with safety rules is disgraceful,” Kitchen told KUT.org.

The fight in Austin is similar to the one Uber waged in New York, where the company successfully fought a plan supported by Mayor Bill de Blasio to cap the number of Uber vehicles in the city.

On the flip side, the taxi companies aren’t staying silent during these battles. Last year, we wrote about the lobbying efforts of ride-sharing organizations versus big taxi companies. Our research found for every $1 a ride-sharing company spent lobbying politicians, taxi companies had spent $3,500.