Should ride-service drivers (like Uber and Lyft) have to pass a fingerprint background check? (1 Viewer)

Should ride-service (like Uber) drivers be required to pass fingerprint background checks?

  • Yes - ride-service drivers should have to pass a fingerprint background check

    Votes: 11 64.7%
  • No - it should not be required by law

    Votes: 4 23.5%
  • Tacoes

    Votes: 2 11.8%

  • Total voters
    17

superchuck500

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In Austin, Texas, the city passed an ordinance that private ride-service drivers must provide a fingerprint for a criminal background check. In response to the ordinance, both Uber and Lyft suspended operations in Austin. Other ride service companies have filled the void while Uber and the city remain dug in on their positions. Apparently, the city similarly requires fingerprints for taxi-driver licenses.

Uber and Lyft do use background checks, but they aren't fingerprint-based . . . which means that they don't get checked against the inter-law-enforcement criminal database operated by the FBI. Uber and Lyft argue that fingerprinting adds significant processing time and cost to their operations without adding meaningfully enhanced vetting. They believe that their background checks are sufficient . . . though a lawsuit in California is based, in part, on defects in the Uber background check system that the plaintiffs (joined by the city) allege render the system unsafe as compared to fingerprints.

Most likely, Uber and Lyft simply don't want the added costs of compliance. Taxi drivers get individual licenses to operate and the drivers must deal with license compliance on an individual basis . . . whereas ride-service drivers are contractors through the company which operates on a class license like a limousine service. The Austin plan would have the city's overhead in handling the fingerprint background checks passed back to the companies through fees.

Also, Uber has said that fingerprinting leads to a shortage in drivers . . . seems like an odd position to take with the public that would like to presume that the person driving them around would, costs not considered, have no problem with submitting a fingerprint check.

This debate is happening all over the country and Uber has not always resisted. In Houston, for instance, the city passed a fingerprint requirement and Uber and Lyft continued operation. But the company continues to threaten to leave where these fingerprint laws are being debated, including in New Jersey, Georgia, and San Jose, CA.

What happened in Austin after Uber and Lyft got up and left

The Truth About Uber's Background Checks | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

https://techcrunch.com/2016/01/13/what-is-going-on-with-uber-and-lyft-in-austin/

What's in a fingerprint? The future of Uber in New Jersey - Mercury News
 

WhoDatPhan78

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In Austin, Texas, the city passed an ordinance that private ride-service drivers must provide a fingerprint for a criminal background check. In response to the ordinance, both Uber and Lyft suspended operations in Austin. Other ride service companies have filled the void while Uber and the city remain dug in on their positions. Apparently, the city similarly requires fingerprints for taxi-driver licenses.

Uber and Lyft do use background checks, but they aren't fingerprint-based . . . which means that they don't get checked against the inter-law-enforcement criminal database operated by the FBI. Uber and Lyft argue that fingerprinting adds significant processing time and cost to their operations without adding meaningfully enhanced vetting. They believe that their background checks are sufficient . . . though a lawsuit in California is based, in part, on defects in the Uber background check system that the plaintiffs (joined by the city) allege render the system unsafe as compared to fingerprints.

Most likely, Uber and Lyft simply don't want the added costs of compliance. Taxi drivers get individual licenses to operate and the drivers must deal with license compliance on an individual basis . . . whereas ride-service drivers are contractors through the company which operates on a class license like a limousine service. The Austin plan would have the city's overhead in handling the fingerprint background checks passed back to the companies through fees.

Also, Uber has said that fingerprinting leads to a shortage in drivers . . . seems like an odd position to take with the public that would like to presume that the person driving them around would, costs not considered, have no problem with submitting a fingerprint check.

This debate is happening all over the country and Uber has not always resisted. In Houston, for instance, the city passed a fingerprint requirement and Uber and Lyft continued operation. But the company continues to threaten to leave where these fingerprint laws are being debated, including in New Jersey, Georgia, and San Jose, CA.

What happened in Austin after Uber and Lyft got up and left

The Truth About Uber's Background Checks | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

https://techcrunch.com/2016/01/13/what-is-going-on-with-uber-and-lyft-in-austin/

What's in a fingerprint? The future of Uber in New Jersey - Mercury News
I don't think there should be a law requiring it.

People can decide whether or not they want to use these services. Maybe there could even be a special designation for drivers who have had a fingerprint background check and the app could allow customers to apply a filter drivers.
 
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superchuck500

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I have mixed emotions about this question.

On the one-hand, I don't like costly regulation when the added benefit isn't demonstrable . . . these things often make the public feel better but they might not actually be doing much to improve safety. Rather, I think that any regulation in this area should be aimed at leaving the market open for competition. Uber may have a lot of market-share due to being the company that changed the way people buy rides in cities. But now that their model has succeeded, other companies can certainly compete. And a company that voluntarily requires its drivers to have fingerprint background checks can make that part of the company's marketing . . . and those who that matters to will choose that company.

But to that same end, if taxi drivers are required to submit fingerprints for their license, I think that same competitive interest requires that ride-services do too. It should be a level playing field.
 

SystemShock

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But to that same end, if taxi drivers are required to submit fingerprints for their license, I think that same competitive interest requires that ride-services do too. It should be a level playing field.
Big government loving, liberal socialist scum :hihi:

But seriously, though, the one question I'd have is about liability and insurance. Don't taxi cab services need to buy a certain type of liability insurance, which I think is required by law (not really sure)? Whereas an Uber/whatever driver would not have it, and I am not sure how insurance companies would handle such claims.
 

Mr. Sparkle

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I have mixed emotions about this question.

On the one-hand, I don't like costly regulation when the added benefit isn't demonstrable . . . these things often make the public feel better but they might not actually be doing much to improve safety. Rather, I think that any regulation in this area should be aimed at leaving the market open for competition. Uber may have a lot of market-share due to being the company that changed the way people buy rides in cities. But now that their model has succeeded, other companies can certainly compete. And a company that voluntarily requires its drivers to have fingerprint background checks can make that part of the company's marketing . . . and those who that matters to will choose that company.

But to that same end, if taxi drivers are required to submit fingerprints for their license, I think that same competitive interest requires that ride-services do too. It should be a level playing field.

A level playing field would mean lifting the cap on cab medallions.

From what I've read and heard from my Austin-residing family members, the Austin cab scene is similar to New Orleans - woeful. A small fleet with cruddy service with cabbies that only want easy milk-run trips. Similar to New Orleans cabs that refuse to go uptown or to Lakeview from the Quarter.

Will be interesting to see how the DWI rate changes over time in Austin without Uber/Lyft.
 
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superchuck500

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A level playing field would mean lifting the cap on cab medallions.

From what I've read and heard from my Austin-residing family members, the Austin cab scene is similar to New Orleans - woeful. A small fleet with cruddy service with cabbies that only want easy milk-run trips. Similar to New Orleans cabs that refuse to go uptown or to Lakeview from the Quarter.

Will be interesting to see how the DWI rate changes over time in Austin without Uber/Lyft.

I think it is no longer a choice between cabs and Uber. The model has proven successful and desirable. Apparently, there are other companies that are now operating in Austin and complying with the fingerprint law. Are they as good? Is their structure and technology similarly appealing to the consumer? And if those replacements succeed and Austin consumers don't feel like they even need Uber, does it impact Uber's strategy in other locations going forward?
 

Mr. Sparkle

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I think it is no longer a choice between cabs and Uber. The model has proven successful and desirable. Apparently, there are other companies that are now operating in Austin and complying with the fingerprint law. Are they as good? Is their structure and technology similarly appealing to the consumer? And if those replacements succeed and Austin consumers don't feel like they even need Uber, does it impact Uber's strategy in other locations going forward?
I think its too early to say - the immediate void was filled with Facebook groups of folks looking for/offering rides - which means zero background check at all. And they will need to replace around 10,000 drivers that left with Uber/Lyft - that will take a while.

I'll have to ask my cousins if they've used any of the replacement services.
 
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I think its too early to say - the immediate void was filled with Facebook groups of folks looking for/offering rides - which means zero background check at all. And they will need to replace around 10,000 drivers that left with Uber/Lyft - that will take a while.

I'll have to ask my cousins if they've used any of the replacement services.

The first link in the OP has some info:

There are 10 licensed services that have filled the void the companies have left. All 10 met an Aug. 1 benchmark of having at least 50 percent of hours or miles driven by drivers who have been fingerprinted, said a city of Austin Transportation Department spokeswoman. (The data is self-reported.) The companies must be in full compliance with the new law by Feb. 1 2017.
. . .
Austin's new transportation network companies are still working out kinks in the system, but they are enabling people to get around, reporters at the Austin American-Statesman found. They road-tested seven apps vying to replace Uber and Lyft and found that they were generally more expensive, harder to use and suffered from a shortage of drivers. That said, the drivers were generally professional and knowledgeable of ride-hailing, many of them having worked for Uber and Lyft in Austin, and continuing to do so outside the city's limits, the reporters found.

Austin's new crop of ride-hailing services — many of which popped up as Uber and Lyft left — say they are more than willing to comply with Austin's new law. They consistently emphasize safety and the fair treatment of drivers.

For example, Wingz is a San Francisco-based start-up backed by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. Now in 12 U.S. cities, the company launched in Austin the day Uber and Lyft pulled the plug. Austin has quickly emerged as one its biggest markets, said CEO Chris Brandon.

As of the beginning of August, 75 percent of its drivers are fingerprinted, said Brandon. It handpicks drivers and provides them with $1 million in liability coverage, something some states have started to require of ride-hailing companies.

Another, Fasten, is a Boston-based start-up, with experience servicing college towns. It launched in Austin on June 1. 70 percent of riders who have tried the service become repeat customers and the average wait time is less than five minutes, said CEO Kirill Evdakov.

"The way Uber treats their drivers makes them want to switch to anything just to have an alternative," he said. "That's what accelerates our growth." At least 50 percent of its driver hours or miles are completed by drivers who have been fingerprinted, he said.
What happened in Austin after Uber and Lyft got up and left


And here is the article from the Austin Statesman where each was tested:
Seven ride-hailing alternative apps: TESTED!
 

coldseat

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Is it really that hard to get a finger print background check? I know I've had to do it several times. All I had to do most times is run down to the state police and pay like $14 or something. I don't remember it taking that long.

The most recent time I had to do it was for my engineering license here in Texas. The legislature passed some law requiring it. Which I thought was pointless because 95% of the time we're dealing with adults, government agencies and other consultants. Not the public or a vulnerable population. I also thought it was dumb because I already had my license here for 10 years when they passed this law. But whatever, we did it here in house and complied. It wasn't some major obstacle.

With Uber, you could be dealing with children, women, elderly and drunks. All of which could be vulnerable in the right situations (men to for that matter). So I can see where you might want the protection. Just don't make it to where it stops the process of becoming a driver. Give them like 60 days or something to fulfill the requirement. Then, if problems arise, the can be let go.
 

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I'm sure we have some Austinites on the board that can provide some first hand info.

All I know is I would take a hostage at City Hall if NOLA dumped Uber.
 

WhoDatPhan78

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Would an arrest for weed prevent someone from driving an uber though?

Would any arrest cause someone to fail the check?

Where is the line? Not all criminals are dangerous.
 

Denzien

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I don't think there should be a law requiring it.

People can decide whether or not they want to use these services. Maybe there could even be a special designation for drivers who have had a fingerprint background check and the app could allow customers to apply a filter drivers.
This exactly. Holy crap...I actually agree with you on something!
 

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I live in Austin. I don't use Uber much at home, but when I did, it was very convenient. I haven't missed it too much, but I know other residents that used it regularly do. I have heard of a few replacement companies, but have never used them or heard of any one that has. I'm also on the fence about this. On one hand, I would never be completely comfortable with my wife using Uber by herself. With that said, I don't necessarily feel comfortable with her getting in a cab by herself either. In theory, running prints is great, but I'm not sure it's going to change whether or not people use those companies.

Here's a compromise: Uber and Lyft should have contracts with the fingerprinting locations (who are privately owned I believe) for lower rates. The drivers should pay for their fingerprinting up front and after completing a certain number of rides (maybe 5), Uber and Lyft reimburses them for the cost. That way drivers are serious about wanting to drive, the city gets what they want and it mitigates the financial burden on the companies.

Uber and Lyft won't budge because if they do it in Austin, it'll cause a trickle affect in every city they're in.
 

buzd

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Would an arrest for weed prevent someone from driving an uber though?

Would any arrest cause someone to fail the check?

Where is the line? Not all criminals are dangerous.
These are valid questions whether you are doing a fingerprint or standard background check.
 

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why would we need this?
if some Uber driver robbed or killed you, you could give them a 1 star and write a bad review
their ability to rob or kill someone else drops dramatically
 

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