BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A move Wednesday to increase safety for passengers who use popular ridesharing services, like Uber. The state wants all drivers to be fingerprinted as part of their criminal background check but the companies say not so fast.
This really could end up affecting everyday people who rely on uber, because the company says if the state forces them to follow these new guidelines they’re just going to pack up and leave.
Uber is preparing for a battle with Maryland as the state gets ready to force 30,000 of the ride sharing companies drivers to go through more background checks. Which includes getting their fingerprints taken just like taxi drivers.
Experts say that step would weed out anyone who’s lying about who they really are.
“You take their fingerprints, you run them through the FBI and low and behold they are somebody else,” said Doug Ward, director of division of public safety leadership at Johns Hopkins.
Uber hasn’t escaped controversy, most recently one of it’s drivers was charged with assaulting and kidnapping a passenger in College Park, but that case is still in the courts.
And in Michigan, an uber driver was accused of killing six people, but Uber maintains their background screening is already extensive and it doesn’t have some of the flaws a government system does.
It’s not clear what the outcome will be if Uber is forced to adhere to stricter guidelines, but one thing is for sure, people in Maryland don’t like the thought of Uber leaving the state.
“All I know is that I don’t want Uber to go away, it’s been very practical for me,” said Adriana Sedjeu, an Uber rider.
Traditional cab companies want Uber and Lyft to play by the same rules.
“I mean we are all in this business together, Uber and limousine companies and taxi cab companies and it’s all about making sure the public is safe and has confidence in the cars that they are getting into,” said Dwight Kines, the vice president of Yellow and Checker cab.
And Wade Young agrees, a part-time Uber driver.
“If that’s the procedure, and if that’s what’s in place in the state, it just becomes the cost of doing business in the state,” said Young.
Austin enacted similar proposals and now, there is no Uber there.
Uber will hold a rally Thursday morning downtown at 100 St. Paul Street at 9:15 a.m. after which the state will hold a hearing on the case. A decision is expected by December 15.