all ridesharing companies must complete fingerprint background checks on all drivers. This policy will begin its rollout on February 1, and all drivers are required to be fingerprinted by February 1, 2017. Both Uber and Lyft have previously indicated that, should fingerprint background screening become mandatory, they would be inclined to leave the city and decline to provide services to the Texas capital. Now that the provision for fingerprint background checks has passed, the two companies have different ideas of what the future might look like for Austin. Despite arguments from Uber, the Austin Urban League, and the Austin Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, that argue fingerprint background screening is a form of discrimination, the Council determined that it was in the city’s best interest to implement these checks for passenger safety. Uber still stands by its assertion that fingerprint background checks would prevent otherwise qualified candidates from becoming Uber drivers. However, Uber has also recently begun considering fingerprinting in certain markets; they may decide that the background checks are worth it to continuing operating in Austin. On the other hand, a Lyft spokesperson said that Lyft would continue to provide its services to Austin residents and visitors “until mandatory fingerprint requirements force us to leave. … We do not operate in cities that require mandatory fingerprint background checks.” It is not clear when the rollout will begin to affect Lyft, or when they will close shop in the city.]]>
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