Last updated: 09:26 AM ET, Thu June 23 2016

Uber, Lyft Launch Into Fingerprint Fray

Travel Technology | Gabe Zaldivar | June 23, 2016

Uber, Lyft Launch Into Fingerprint Fray

Photo via Flickr

Uber and Lyft might seem like transportation stalwarts that will stand the test of time. But there are things that linger that could force an evolution of the ride-hailing services. Associated Press writers Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher, in a report for ABC News, signal an intriguing turn of events for the travel tech giants Uber and Lyft.

At the heart of the issue is ride-hailing companies’ insistence that fingerprinting be kept off the list of mandates to become a driver.

As the report spells out, fingerprint ordinances force the likes of Uber and Lyft to take days to vet a potential driver when its current model takes about 24 hours. From lawmakers’ point of view, the call is really quite simple. There is a need to keep passengers safe amid growing concern and troubling headlines.

TravelPulse itself has documented one awful Uber misstep after another.

The ongoing threat of possible criminals driving around passengers has led to some cities considering various regulations. Most famously, Austin enacted a set of rules that Uber contested, leading to the service leaving town altogether.

ABC News’ report reminds that Uber’s current method of screening can be a tad, well, porous: “In a lawsuit against Uber, prosecutors in Los Angeles and San Francisco found 25 drivers who passed Uber's checks despite having criminal histories, including a driver convicted of felony sexual exploitation of a minor.”

There is another item of note to consider outside expediency. ABC News also spoke with Chicago consultant Giovanni Thurman who works to garner jobs for ex-convicts. Thurman makes the point: “Those drug dealers that I knew, they drive Uber because it's an option to not go back (to dealing). If you impose all of those background checks ... then now you've cut off another way.”

Uber may have a nice test case in the form of Houston that does mandate fingerprints for Uber drivers. One driver states it took about a month to get through the extensive screening process.

All this means is that Uber and Lyft are hardly entrenched in the industry. Each will have to answer the question of safety and its efficacy of security screening. That may mean more of the status quo. More than likely, however, the companies, and those like them, will have to bend to meet the most serious requirement from consumers, that of their well-being.  


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