Austin Sends Uber, Lyft Fingerprint Mandate to Voters

Friday, February 19, 2016

After a lengthy battle in City Hall, voters in Austin, Texas will get the chance to decide whether drivers for Uber, Lyft and other transportation network companies (TNCs) need to be fingerprinted and undergo a background check in order to transport passengers. Voters will get to decide on May 7th in a special election that will cost between $500,000 and $800,000.

Back in December the Austin City Council approved an ordinance that would raise the franchise fee from 1% to 2% and would have eventually required all TNC drivers to pass a fingerprint-based background check. Since then a political action committee called “Ridesharing Works for Austin” collected signatures and submitted a petition with over 65,000 names complaining that the ordinance put undue pressure on the drivers for these and other transportation network companies.

The petition forced the city to either adopt the original regulations approved back in October 2014 by former Mayor Lee Leffingwell (which lacked any fingerprinting requirement and only collected a 1% franchise fee) or bring the issue to a vote. Uber and Lyft threatened to leave the city if they are forced to fingerprint background check their drivers.

Uber Technologies, Inc. was formed in 2009 in San Francisco as a smartphone app to allow riders to get a ride from local drivers, using their own vehicles. Now the company operates in over 50 countries and is worth upwards of $60 billion. Lyft is a similar company also based in San Francisco. These and other transportation network companies have been the topic of debate over safety and other concerns since their inception. All eyes will be on Austin when the city’s voters take to the ballot in May.

Safety on the road, whether behind the wheel or as a passenger, is our top concern at Terry & Kelly, PLLC. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s extremely important to contact Austin Car Accident Attorney immediately in order to preserve certain legal rights. Call us today at 512-910-2000 for a free consultation and case evaluation.

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