AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — With Uber’s $7.5 billion acquisition of rival Grab by a consortium of investors, Austinites are taking a look at how the ride-hailing giant operates.
And some of the drivers are not happy.
Here’s what you need to know.
Austin has some of Texas’ toughest drivers and it has been a hotbed of driver protests in recent months.
AUSTin traffic has grown to over 7,000 cars per day in the last year, a number that has increased in the past year, according to the Austin Police Department.
But the Austin traffic data company Austin Traffic Solutions, or ATS, said it does not track ridesharing.
Its analysis of the data shows that Austin has the highest percentage of Uber drivers who are Black or Hispanic.
AUSTIN Traffic Solutions said the data it provides is limited because it is proprietary.
ATS did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Many Austinites say the Uber and Grab acquisition is a blow to their jobs.
Uber, owned by private equity giant Blackstone Group LP, is looking to build out a global fleet of 200,000 vehicles and expand its business in Austin.
Grab is an Austin-based startup that provides the rideshailing app.
The acquisition of Grab is one of the most controversial and hotly debated deals in the U.S. in recent years.
Uber said Grab is the world’s largest ridesharer.
Grab declined to comment.
Uber has faced protests, lawsuits and a federal judge in New York who has been critical of the ride sharing service’s practices.
Grab’s CEO, John Zimmer, said in a statement the company’s focus will be to grow its workforce to 200,00 drivers, but that he “remains committed to creating an inclusive and safe environment for all Uber drivers.”
Grab has said it will create more than 100,000 jobs in Austin in the next five years, including a number of senior executive positions, in addition to its headquarters in New Orleans.
Uber and the Grab deal is just the latest in a series of moves by Uber and its partners to make it easier for customers to hail and book rides, as part of the companys drive to build a global network of drivers.
Uber recently added two new taxi fleets in Dallas, and in February the company said it would begin expanding its fleet of cabs in cities around the world, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Austin.
The Austin deal has been praised by some drivers and supporters of the tech giant.
Uber’s ride sharing business has seen a huge boom in recent weeks.
Uber said it expects the number of drivers and passengers using the app will increase by 300,000 by the end of the year, and that it is hiring more drivers.
The Grab acquisition comes as Austin grapples with a spike in murders in recent days.
The city reported two more murders in the city Wednesday, bringing the total number of homicides to 10, up from three the day before.
Last month, an Uber driver was killed in an accident, and several days later, an Austin man was shot and killed in a carjacking.
Police have not said what led to the shootings, which occurred in different neighborhoods in the Austin metro area.