Ever since Uber and Lyft left Austin, the peer-to-peer rideshare group, Arcade City, has been making waves as it has made its bid to fill the void. The developers made its presence known when they published an open letter to the city on their official website. Ever since, the group’s founder, Christopher David, has been busy doing interviews and most recently conducting the group’s first ever meetup in Austin.
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For the first time, drivers and riders with Arcade City got together for a meeting to provide an update of sorts about the operations of the group and to voice concerns to David. The meeting was live-streamed on Facebook and began with David introducing himself and explaining how he (like many of the people present) was a former Uber driver.
He also shared with the group his vision for Arcade City as a more decentralized model for ridesharing and provided some tips on how to organize and work together for more optimal outcomes.
Filling the Void in Austin, Texas
David’s opening talk only lasted for a few minutes as the rest of the time was opened up for discussion between drivers and himself. The talks ranged from how people are enjoying it to how to organize “pods” to work together as drivers, and about police. Legality and law enforcement was a major issue that was heavily discussed during the meeting as many in the group were concerned about potential “stings.” In 2014, the city started conducting sting operations, acting as riders to catch Uber drivers picking up passengers illegally in Austin. Two years later, Arcade City drivers are worried about the same thing.
In 2014, the city started conducting sting operations, acting as riders to catch Uber drivers picking up passengers illegally in Austin. Two years later, Arcade City drivers are worried about the same thing.
Arcade City’s legality in the city is an uncertain matter that still must be sorted out as companies and individuals providing transportation service and charging more than the federal reimbursement rate without appropriate documentation are illegal in the City of Austin. “If anybody says that they’re not worried about the legality of
“If anybody says that they’re not worried about the legality of it they’re being naive,” driver Sarah Cooper said. The same driver had actually been given a warning when a cop saw her pull out a payment app after giving her friend a ride.
Outside of the talks about legality and law enforcement, the meeting was mostly used as a platform to crowdsource ideas from AC’s driver network for the new ridesharing app they are developing.
During the meeting, David informed the group that the app currently has a lot of “your standard Uber-style technology so far,” but he wanted to hear from the drivers what they would specifically like to see added to the future app. About halfway through the meeting city councilman Don Zimmerman joined them, saying “I find it fascinating, it’s very interesting.” The councilman also added that if the city were to conduct stings that he would compare such behavior to organized crime.
Bitcoin is a ‘Clear Choice’
David is generally optimistic about Arcade City and has been surprised how quickly new drivers have become familiarized with Bitcoin. He explained:
It is amazing to see Arcade City drivers introduced to Bitcoin for the first time and how they instantly recognize the value of peer-to-peer money. These drivers are entrepreneurs already on the cutting edge of peer-to-peer interactions in giving rides with no middleman. Bitcoin is the clear choice as a payment method that fits the same model.
Furthermore, David has said that he and his team will be adding new features to the app that will be incorporating and making full use of the cryptocurrency.
What do you think of Arcade City’s first ever meetup? Do you think Arcade City will be able to operate around Austin’s regulations? Let us know in the comments below!
Images Courtesy of Motherboard.vice.com, Bitcoinist.net