City Council takes aim at rideshare 'surge pricing,' safety concerns … – Chicago Sun-Times


Ride-hailing drivers can be fingerprinted — and required to rein in “surge pricing” — beneath a shock crackdown that superior by means of a City Council committee over the objections of Uber and Lyft.

Earlier this yr, Transportation Committee Chairman Anthony Beale (ninth) advised the Chicago Sun-Times that a metropolis fee charged with conducting an “independent study” of fingerprinting was poised to advocate that the town not undertake the requirement for Uber and Lyft drivers. But the committee has but to concern its last report.

On Wednesday, Beale — who favors the fingerprinting of drivers — received uninterested in ready.

He pushed via his committee an ordinance that may require journey-hailing drivers to “submit to fingerprinting, provide a photograph” and pay a processing charge, whether or not the appliance is authorised or denied.

Uber and Lyft have lengthy maintained that a background examine based mostly on FBI fingerprinting would discriminate towards minorities who’re “far more likely to have an interaction with the criminal justice system” — and sometimes for minor, nonviolent offenses the place the fees are dropped however the report has not but been expunged.

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

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

“Six months is a long time to wait past the deadline. It’s important that we go ahead and move this forward,” he stated.

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

If the complete Council approves, surge pricing can be capped at 150 % above the typical common fare set in the course of the seven days previous any “unforeseen emergency.”

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

“A $12 cab ride turned into over $100 because they surge-priced. They’re taking advantage of a person’s misfortune. They got a refund. But, who told them to refund?” Beale stated, referring City Hall.

“If the company is gonna surge price, so be it. But it should be for planned events. People know what they’re getting themselves into. But when CTA breaks down, they’re taking advantage of people’s misfortune.”

Beale has acquired hundreds of dollars in contributions from the taxicab business. He’s the City Council’s champion for a shrinking business preventing for survival within the Uber period.

But the chairman denied that the ordinance he muscled via committee was a payback for marketing campaign contributions acquired from a dying business.

“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 stated.

Uber, whose buyers embrace Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s brother, stated the corporate agrees with native congressmen and former Attorney General Eric Holder.

All of them have “raised concerns about the discriminatory impact of fingerprinting and bio-metric background requirements that can discriminate against minority communities,” the corporate stated.

Uber famous that it has “pro-actively refunded customers who were impacted by higher than normal prices” after the CTA disruption.

Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Commissioner Rosa Escareno stated she has already taken a robust stand towards “surge prices that gouge consumers.”

“When Uber and Lyft had outrageous surge prices in Chicago a few weeks ago we called out the practices as being unacceptable, the companies refunded drivers, and they are working with us to develop standards to ensure nothing like that ever happens again,” Escareno was quoted as saying in an emailed assertion.

Escareno stated she’s nicely conscious that fingerprinting is “an important issue” to Beale and she or he has additionally “taken it seriously.”

“In the past two months we have engaged UIC to produce a study on the practices of fingerprinting and background checks to ensure any plan strikes the appropriate balance between access to transportation for consumers, jobs for drivers and the absolute need to ensure safety,” she stated.

Uber and Lyft have been blindsided by Wednesday’s vote as a result of the supplemental agenda together with the finger-printing and surge-pricing crackdown wasn’t posted on the town clerk’s web site till shortly earlier than 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

That’s nicely in need of the required, 48-hour public discover.

Beale insisted that he filed the ordinance — with a hand-stamp to show it — at 12:06 p.m. Monday. He blamed a “computer problem” within the clerk’s workplace for any posting delay.

Last yr, a divided City Council agreed to license, however not fingerprint, experience-hailing drivers amid threats from Uber and Lyft to desert the Chicago market.

Under strain from Emanuel, Beale agreed to a compromise that might license all Uber and Lyft drivers after a daylong course that might be accomplished on-line and background checks carried out by these journey-hailing corporations, which might share the knowledge with the town.

That compromise put fingerprinting on maintain for six months–time sufficient to conduct the “independent study.”

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