Plan to fingerprint ride-hailing drivers, curb surge pricing stalls

SHARE Plan to fingerprint ride-hailing drivers, curb surge pricing stalls

Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) speaks at a Chicago City Council meeting at City Hall in 2015. File Photo. | Ashlee Rezin/For the Sun-Times

So much for the requirement that ride-hailing drivers be fingerprinted and surge pricing reined in over the objections of Uber and Lyft.

At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, the ordinance that Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) muscled through the Transportation Committee he chairs wasn’t even called for a vote.

That’s because the Law Department contended that the security and pricing crackdown was not posted on the city clerk’s website in time to meet the required 48-hour public notice before last week’s Transportation Committee vote.

“They claim that it wasn’t filed in time—that it was 24 hours [notice] instead of 48,” Beale said Wednesday.

“I’ve got 35 signatures on the ordinance. I’m gonna wait until my next meeting, do a direct introduction into committee and pass it again. I’m gonna make sure it’s filed on time next time.”

Uber and Lyft have long maintained that a background check based on FBI fingerprinting would discriminate against minorities who are “far more likely to have an interaction with the criminal justice system” — and often for minor, nonviolent offenses where the charges are dropped but the record has not yet been expunged.

Beale has ridiculed that “sky-is-falling” warning and dared Uber and Lyft to “walk away from billions of dollars.”

He has portrayed fingerprinting as pivotal to riders’ safety because it’s the “one way to make sure a person is who they say they are.”

The surge-pricing cap was driven by what Beale calls the predatory pricing by Uber and Lyft after a CTA service disruption earlier this month that left thousands of commuters scrambling to get to work.

If the full council approves, surge pricing would be capped at 150 percent above the average regular fare set during the seven days preceding any “unforeseen emergency.”

That’s defined as “any actual or threatened terrorist attack, mass shooting, major disruption in public transportation, failure or shortage or electric power and inclement weather.”

Beale has received thousands of dollars in contributions from the taxicab industry. He’s the City Council’s champion for a shrinking industry fighting for survival in the Uber era.

But the chairman has emphatically denied that the ordinance he muscled through committee was a payback for campaign contributions received from a dying industry.

“This is about the safety and well-being of the people of Chicago. If you get into an Uber, I want to make sure you’re safe,” he said.

Uber, whose investors include Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s brother, responded to last week’s vote by reiterating its

“concerns about the discriminatory impact of fingerprinting and bio-metric background requirements that can discriminate against minority communities.”

The company further noted that it “pro-actively refunded customers who were impacted by higher than normal prices” after the CTA disruption.

The Latest
La Russa makes it official, will not return next season due to health reasons related to his heart
The announcement comes 100 days after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. And it comes as wait times in Illinois for abortion procedures have skyrocketed from four days to two-and-a-half weeks at Planned Parenthood’s clinic in downstate Fairview Heights.
Diego Uribe admits shooting his aunt and killing 5 other family members in their home in 2016. Uribe’s lawyers contend others were involved.
“My whole family is traumatized and hurt from this senseless act of violence,” the boy’s mother wrote in a funding appeal.
The Bears are 11th in the NFL in points allowed, but coach Matt Eberflus isn’t letting that mask an alarming hole in their run defense — currently 32nd and last in the league after allowing 262 rushing yards against the Giants on Sunday.