Austin Comes After Free Enterprise…Again

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The city of Austin, Texas is once again trying to crush free enterprise.

Fresh off the heels of forcing out Uber and Lyft with onerous regulations, Austin has come after Arcade City, the decentralized ride-sharing competitor that has moved in to fill the void.

On Friday July 15th, Austin PD sent a detail of officers to assist in ticketing Christopher David, Arcade City’s founder, at the co-working space from where he was running operations in the city (via a Facebook group where drivers arrange free rides, while passengers are encouraged to tip). Fortunately, David was not present (in the city, state, or even country) to receive the Class C misdemeanor gift, a charge for operating a ride-sharing company without proper paperwork, though he did have some harsh words city officials:

“Congratulations to the City of Austin for becoming the first municipality to raid a company’s office because of a Facebook group. We’ve been clear that Arcade City is not a TNC, and our mobile app doesn’t even launch until next month. But to a city government with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

Ongoing cat-and-mouse between David and authorities

This is not the first time David has brushed with the powers that be on his path to entrepreneur heaven. When organizing the Free Uber civil disobedience campaign to protest Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s de facto ban on the ride-sharing app, rogue drivers (one grandmother in particular) go in hot water with the local police. David himself got a wiretapping misdemeanor charge for filming a bouncer who was harassing drivers.

Despite the flak, Arcade City is taking off

In spite of (or maybe thanks to) all the controversy, Arcade City has made quite a splash in the tech world. In addition to jumping into the ride-sharing game in Austin, the startup has had time to partner with charity food distribution app Unsung to feed Austin’s homeless, as well win first place in a blockchain startup competition in Berlin. An app is planned for the end of next month.

Joël Valenzuela
Joël Valenzuela
Joël Valenzuela is the editor of The Desert Lynx. He is also the founder of the Rights Brigade, a mover for the Free State Project, and a martial art instructor.
  • TheOneLaw

    Austin shall become a glittering example of dystopia.
    I left when Autin was ruled by mere morons,
    now it is the feral children of those morons