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This Doesn’t Have To Be The End Of Rideshares In Austin

Uber and Lyft haven’t yet declared their departure from Austin, but there are already others ready to take their place.

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(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

After hours, weeks, months, and years of back and forth between the city and ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft, Austin City Council has finally done it. On Friday city council members voted 9-2 to pass an ordinance that, among other things, would require transportation network companies (TNCs) to run fingerprint background checks on their drivers. Essentially, they’ve passed the very regulation that Uber and Lyft have strongly suggested would make them leave the city.

But not immediately. The requirements for fingerprint background checks will go into effect on February 1, 2016 and will be implemented in stages. As the Austin American-Statesman reports:

Under the ordinance, transportation network companies will have four benchmark dates to have fingerprint checks of certain percentages of driver-hours or driver-miles: 25 percent by May 1, 50 percent by Aug. 1, 85 percent by Dec. 1 and 99 percent by Feb. 1. That would appear to give Lyft and Uber a grace period of more than five months before any of the drivers would have to go through the process.

Even with this “grace period,” it’s unclear how much longer Uber and Lyft will remain in the city. Austin Mayor Steve Adler posted his support of the new ordinance on Facebook, along with a reminder that it shouldn’t necessarily “stop operation of either Uber or Lyft in Austin.” He wants to keep the companies in the city, but whether they’ll stay is up to them.

In a statement by Lyft spokesperson Chelsea Wilson, Lyft only promised to hang around until the new ordinance started affecting them.

Lyft will operate in Austin until mandatory fingerprint requirements force us to leave. In the meantime, we will remain at the table in an effort to create a workable ordinance and preserve the benefits ridesharing brings to visitors and residents. We do not operate in cities that require mandatory fingerprint background checks.

That’s somehow both hopeful and bleak. Uber was a bit more straightforward.

The issues between Austin and the two major ridesharing companies have been plenty, but things took a noticeable turn as reports of sexual assaults by TNC drivers came in this year. Fingerprinting background checks became a central issue, but one that the companies refused to budge on. Uber and Lyft have argued that these kinds of background checks are based on “antiquated rules” and that they’ll push potential drivers away.

When we’re talking about the safety of customers, particularly women, who are trusting other drivers to keep them safe (often requesting rides after consuming alcohol), reasons against fingerprinting aren’t good enough. That’s not to say that fingerprint background checks are 100 percent secure and accurate; sexual assault charges have also been filed against taxi drivers who’ve gone through fingerprint-based background checks. But considering that Uber and Lyft don’t meet with drivers before trusting them with their customers, one would hope they’d be open to another layer of safety. Uber, at least, seems to be considering fingerprint background checks since they’re operating in Houston, which requires them, and they’re testing them out in California.

Also, this doesn’t mean necessarily mean the end of ridesharing in Austin. Days before city council reached its decision, a Dallas-based company called Get Me announced plans to relocate its headquarters to Austin and expand from delivery services into ridesharing. What’s more, they’ve promised to go along with whatever regulations Austin City Council puts forward.

“We support, basically, what is proposed,” Derrick Dunlop, product director at Get Me, said in an interview with Austin Business Journal. “We will comply with the city ordinance. Being 113 days old, being new in the game in that sense, if [that’s] something that cities feel is the safest way for consumer and driver to feel protected, then we support that.”

Maybe that’s what will make Get Me’s transition into the rideshare business easy: their newness and flexibility. When Uber and Lyft first started entering cities, there was very little in place in city ordinances, if anything at all, to handle new app-based ridesharing services. These companies instead developed their own business models and ran (or, you know, drove) with them, occasionally—or often, in the case of several major Texas cities—against the wishes of city officials who then rushed to catch up with temporary agreements.

Either way, Austin has set its foot down. There are other issues to work out, such as a series of “incentives” and “disincentives” to encourage TNCs to use fingerprint background checks, but who knows if Uber and Lyft will stick around long enough to see what they are. As for Get Me and other future TNCs looking to make the move to Austin, they’ll know what to expect.

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  • Scott C

    Fingerprinting is lipstick on a pig. 0% preventative while providing false comfort of safety. There are no stats saying fingerprinting is successfully preventative against anything. Meanwhile, the city will continue to collect money on DWIs and making it hard to get in and out of downtown and have a good time without driving. I go downtown because I know I can get in and out easily without driving. Uber/Lyft goes away, and the cost of that doubles (Taxis are that much more expensive) so I stop spending my money in Austin proper. I’m not alone. Horrible mistake by the city council and another reason Austin aspires to be like the Silicon Valley, but continues to fall short.

    • Albee Doh

      You claim there are no stats but offered no data to back that claim.

      Let’s see your VERIFIABLE data.

      BTW, what’s going to kill Uber is not the government but the lies they tell to recruit drivers.

      Any idea what your Uber drivers are actually making despite Uber’s claims? Why do you think the turnover rate is so massive? Do you really think that in this economy people would quit a job so quickly is if paid as well as Uber says?

      The government isn’t screwing this great idea up, Uber is.

      • pelewis

        Albee Doh, the burden of proof is on the regulators to show VERIFIABLE data that fingerprint checks work. And Uber’s turnover rate is irrelevant to the entire question. You have added less than zero to this debate.

        • Albee Doh

          You’re the one that made a claim. The onus is on you to prove the claim. You claim to be referencing information yet did not provide that information. Where’s your data?

          • pelewis

            The onus on those who want to restrict our freedoms to prove that they are not doing so for nothing. Are you saying government should be able to tell me how to live my life without any justification whatsoever?

            You are saying that it’s ok for the Austin City Council to do what they are doing just because they feel like it. The burden is on them / you to justify their restricitions and if you can’t see that, then well…no point in replying.

          • Deke

            How is the government restricting freedom exactly?

          • pelewis

            I wish to use Uber services. Uber wants to provide those services. It’s nobody else’s business to get in our way.

          • Albee Doh

            Nice tantrum.

          • Deke

            You are using the roads that my tax money pays for too. It’s a public space. If you want to use Uber on your own property, have at it. Have a blind 13 year old snorting coke drive you around for all I care. But when you get on the roads I use and put my safety in jeopardy then you are infringing on my freedom to be safe. This isn’t *your* country, it’s *our* country, we have to share public spaces and therefore it isn’t unreasonable to ask that people pass reasonable background checks (among other rules such as restrictions on the number of hours they drive). It’s simplistic and self adsorbed to suggest that you getting in an Uber has no effect on anyone else. Like I said, if it’s on your own property, I don’t care who drives you around but if you’re on shared space then I expect that the government takes reasonable precautions and this isn’t unreasonable. Do you even know the reason WHY you need a fingerprint check rather than a name check?

          • Albee Doh

            YUP.

            BTW, the restriction on hours allowed to drive has to go hand-in-hand with paying enough so that drivers don’t have to drive excessively (and do drugs to stay awake) to make a living.

            These are crucial reads on safety and proper pay in this industry:

            www . schallerconsult . com/taxi/safercabs.pdf

            www . taxi-library . org/driving-poor.pdf

            www . bls . gov/iif/oshwc/cfar0020.pdf

            And here’s the truth of how poorly the job pays:

            www . jetsettershomestead.boardingarea . com/2015/01/19/uber-driver-earnings/

            www . forbes . com/sites/ellenhuet/2015/01/06/workers-compensation-uber-drivers-sharing-economy/

            And this is very enlightening:

            www . youtube . com/watch?v=-joTzlBefbU

            www . youtube . com/watch?v=Exw8bS0mfC4

          • Albee Doh

            As Republicans love to say, “laws should protect us from each other, not ourselves.”

            This is a measurable public safety issue.

          • wessexmom

            SECEDE NOW! PLEASE! You can’t eat safe meat, breathe clean air, drive on paved roads, fly in traffic-controlled air space or go about your daily life without some “government”! Grow up.

          • pelewis

            Where did you get the crazy idea I said we didn’t need government? But a government in our interest and not Austin Taxi’s or their DUI income.

          • Albee Doh

            If you regulate cabs you have to regulate Ubers.

          • Albee Doh

            Uber’s background checks don’t work. Two wrongs make a right in your world?

            You claimed fingerprinting doesn’t work. Let’s see your proof that it doesn’t.

          • common sense

            10,000+ TNC drivers in Austin. There have been no murders by a TNC driver in spite of not having finger print background checks. 2500+ police officers in Austin. (obviously fingerprint background checked) How many Austin Police officers have been charged with murder?. All background checks are reactionary. We would be better served by having a thorough psychiatric profile to determine if a TNC driver applicant has predispositions towards violence. But really, this is about statistics (and odds) According to the FBI in 2013 Black or African Americans accounted for 52.2 percent of Murder and non-negligent manslaughter convictions although Black or African Americans make up only 13.2% of the US population. One could thus conclude that statistically speaking you should also consider race when selecting your Uber/Lyft or Taxi driver.

            You said “Uber’s background checks don’t work.” You asked for proof that fingerprint background checks don’t work. VonTrey Clark- Fingerprint background checked. (Would you want him to drive you home?

          • Albee Doh

            False equivalencies are your thing, eh?

            And cherry picking exceptions to obfuscate rules as well, apparently.

            You forgot to factor poverty with your race baiting BS.

            I’ve lived in cities with large Af-Am populations. I watched many of them submit applications at all of the places I worked. Care to guess how many of them ever got a job over white, Asian, and/or Hispanic candidates? Here’s a hint: rhymes with Nero.

            Nice try but you’re attempting to blow smoke up an ass with a highly tuned detector. But go ahead and keep your head between those cheeks, I’ve a little “smoke” to offer you in return.

            And here’s some info you apparently didn’t catch:

            www . kxan . com/investigative-story/austin-police-investigating-alleged-sex-assaults-by-uber-lyft-drivers/

            www . whosdrivingyou . org/rideshare-incidents

          • Albee Doh

            You fail to admit to the fact that cabs and other services are having their “freedoms” much more heavily restricted and regulated than Uber and Lyft are.

            They are doing it because commercial drivers in most states are required to submit to fingerprinting and/or drug testing. There are very good reasons why, based exclusively on precedents, not just some “idea” or impulse.

            Uber and Lyft do not deserve any special exemptions. Period.

      • jk

        “Why do you think the turnover rate is so massive?”

        How do you know their turnover rate is “massive”? Let’s see your VERIFIABLE data.

        • Albee Doh

          “Uber data show 11% of new drivers stop driving within a month, and about half are gone within a year.”

          “But critics say the reality may be different. They say many drivers start working for Uber without fully understanding the costs and risks involved — something Uber doesn’t help when it continues to publish hourly earnings (like it did in thisstudy) without detailing driver expenses like gas, maintenance, and health insurance (its survey found only half of Uber drivers get insurance from a full-time job or a spouse). Many drivers who are critical of the company claim that Uber lures in naïve new drivers with promises of steady earnings only to cut fares on them, as the company did in 48 cities last week. When fed-up drivers quit, new drivers are willing to take their place — twice as many new drivers every six months, according to Uber.”

          www . forbes . com/sites/ellenhuet/2015/01/22/uber-study-workforce/

          www . sfgate . com/business/article/Lyft-Uber-drivers-turnover-high-wages-low-6585229.php

          www . nbcbayarea . com/news/local/Study-on-Lyft-Uber-Reveals-High-Turnover-Rates-Low-Wages–336377121.html

          BTW, your Fast Co article charted GROSS earnings, NOT net after costs and taxes. The trends are clearly negative.

          www . fastcompany . com/3048563/fast-feed/this-is-how-much-uber-and-lyft-drivers-make-in-different-cities

          Why does Uber refuse to release the data itself? Highly suspicious.

          Your turn. Let’s see your data that proves what a “great” job this is.

          • jk

            From the SherpaShare report: at 3-5 months, 41% reported working fewer hours, but that percentage declined to 36% at 6-12 months. Meanwhile, drivers unilaterally drive more past the three-month part, and at 9-12 months, 39% are driving more hours and only 35% are working fewer. Sorry, but if anything the data support the conclusion that some figure out within the first three months that it’s not for them, but on whole they work the same hours or MORE than before between three and 12 months. Even by the wildest stretch of the imagination, this doesn’t equal a “massive turnover rate.”

            As for this bit:

            “But critics say the reality may be different.”

            Operative words “MAY BE.” (Also, are you one of said critics?)

            “Why does Uber refuse to release the data itself? Highly suspicious.”

            Because it’s proprietary data? Duh. (And not suspicious.)

            “Your turn. Let’s see your data that proves what a ‘great’ job this is.”

            At what point did I ever say it was a “great job”?

          • Albee Doh

            Sherpa Share’s data is incomplete. Few drivers bother to provide the site with comprehensive data. Most don’t even know it exists.

          • jk

            Let me get this straight: you reply to my request for VERIFIABLE data with multiple links to studies based *entirely* on SherpaShare data, and then immediately do a 180 after I challenge its validity and claim it’s “incomplete.”

            And you wonder why no one takes you seriously…

          • Albee Doh

            Let’s have this debate in front of a live audience.

            Pony up.

      • Deke

        Absolutely true. I have known people who thought they were going to make money as an Uber driver, bought a car to do so and suddenly found that because Uber allow a ridiculous number of drivers, they weren’t making any money. ZERO risk to Uber, huge risk to an individual…. which is their model, they have effectively built a company worth 17 billion dollars by eroding away the rights of a worker. I have no sympathy for that company at all.
        I’m just wondering when they will decide that ensuring a driver has a valid drivers license is too cumbersome and demand that the onus is on the driver to do this, not the company.

  • Bo

    Let’s look at the whole picture.
    Fingerprinting offers a layer of protection that is cheap and limits the chance of a driver being under a false identity.

    So…what’s the problem? uber/lyft answered that. Hinders people from becoming drivers!

    In Phoenix for example they were able to load up the streets with drivers. Uber claims you can make $600 a week being a driver. To earn that a driver based on the pay cuts in 40 hours would need to drive 3,000 miles and average speed of 153.9 MPH Do your math.

    Obviously drivers are not hurt with fingerprinting.
    Uber/lyft profit is reduced because can’t get more drivers to work for less. They are forced to pay more to attract drivers.

    What kind of driver will you have that works for less than flipping hamburgers for 14 hours a day just to pay his bills and a new car payment he thought was going to make a lot of money.

  • pelewis

    If the Austin City Council feels unsafe to ride on Uber or Lyft, then let them take the taxi. The last time I tried to take an Austin Taxi to the airport, it was 45 minutes late.

    Uber is not just better than Austin Taxi, it is 100 times better.

    • Albee Doh

      Not if you’re working for them it isn’t.

  • Albee Doh

    A must-watch to know the truth about being an Uber and Lyft driver from a former driver:

    • jk

      How . . . curious that you bring up the general driver’s experience, considering it’s not even remotely related to the topic of the article. Could it be that you didn’t even read it, and are posting solely because you have a personal axe to grind on the subject? (Just a *totally* random guess!)

      • Albee Doh

        “[N]ot even remotely related?”

        You clearly have no idea what it is you’re saying.

        I always have an axe to grind against liars and crooks.

        • jk

          “You clearly have no idea what it is you’re saying.”

          Sure I do. Not only do no drivers want Uber and Lyft to leave Austin, hundreds of them showed up at City Hall to voice their support. At no point in this article is driver dissatisfaction with their work mentioned.

          • Albee Doh

            That’s because few people give a s**t about their drivers.

            To say it isn’t even remotely related is just f-info stupid. Both deal with Uber/Lyft. That makes them relative.

          • jk

            “That’s because few people give a s**t about their drivers.”

            Even assuming that’s true, this story still has zilch to do with drivers — regardless of how much you try to spin it — except with respect to the purported crimes they commit. Passenger treatment of drivers is irrelevant in the context of this article. Accept it and move on.

  • jk

    I find it borderline shocking that Texas Monthly — the lone remaining bastion of quality journalism in the state — published such a facile, error-laden story with nary a *scintilla* of investigation behind the various claims asserted. Further, I find it astonishing that it contains not *one* mention of the absence of any public outcry for fingerprint checks; rather, they emanated entirely from the group that’s become nothing short of desperate to drive (no pun intended) Uber and Lyft out of town: the Austin taxi industry. (Yellow Cab CEO Ed Kargbo began a “conversation” with CM Ann Kitchen, who almost unilaterally led the charge for background checks, almost immediately after she took office, followed by numerous and extensive “discussions” with her policy advisor, Ken Craig.)

    “The requirements for fingerprint background checks will go into effect on February 1, 2016 and will be implemented in stages.”

    It’s May 1, not February 1, an error that any editor could have discovered via the simplest of Google searches.

    “Austin Mayor Steve Adler posted his support of the new ordinance on Facebook, along with a reminder that it shouldn’t necessarily ‘stop operation of either Uber or Lyft in Austin.'”

    Considering Adler *wrote* the ordinance — or at least the part of it that introduced its “fingerprinting-in-stages” concept — it’s stating the obvious that he “supports it.” Clearly TM didn’t bother sending even a stringer to cover the press conference where he introduced it — *without* mentioning a word about it beforehand to the body that would later *vote* on it, namely the Austin City Council. (NB: Is Doyin Oyeniyi new to the magazine? Or new to the state, for that matter? Even a straight-out-of-j-school newbie should know the fact that it’s exceptionally rare for Texas mayors to pen ordinances *themselves*.)

    “When we’re talking about the safety of customers, particularly women, who are trusting other drivers to keep them safe (often requesting rides after consuming alcohol), reasons against fingerprinting aren’t good enough.”

    Not only is this opinion that has no place in a news piece, it’s biased opinion that rather clearly takes the claims asserted by the anti-TNC brigade at face value. If Ms. Oyeniyi had bothered to attend any of the city council meetings leading up to Thursday night’s vote — or done any research whatsoever on the topic — she would have discovered the following:

    1. Based on actual, per-capita statistics (and if you assume a “guilty until proven innocent” stance, as is typical among all media today), Austin taxi drivers are at *least* EIGHT TIMES more likely to sexually assault a female passenger — and they’re the ones who *have* been fingerprinted. This stat alone should have led TM editors to question the blanket assertion that “reasons against fingerprinting aren’t good enough,” considering it’s rather clearly indicative of a conclusion that fingerprinting is of specious value at best.

    2. The results of an independent study introduced during one of the meetings not only bolster the above conclusion, but virtually proves it outright. Out of *all* TNC drivers accused of sexual assaults to date — in every U.S. city where they operate (and since Uber commenced operations in 2009), and excluding accused drivers who were subsequently exonerated — only *one* would have been caught by a fingerprint check had they been (hypothetically) in place nationwide. While yes, even one assault is too many, it must nonetheless be put into the context of the fact that Uber alone has provided over 200 MILLION rides in the U.S. to date.

    3. Finally, Ms. Oyeniyi apparently did no investigation whatsoever of the fact that the security protocols put in place by both Uber and Lyft — which record *every* ride, cross-referenced by verified ID and address information for both passengers *and* drivers — are not only a substantial deterrent against sexual assaults, but also directly correlative to significant *reductions* in assaults over a multiyear period. To put it another way: criminals of all stripes figure out very quickly that being caught for any crime committed against a ride-hail passenger is a near certainty, thanks to the aforementioned data-recording, and as such become even more disinclined over time to apply for a driver job with Lyft or Uber in the first place. (In contrast, most sexual assaults committed by taxi drivers are never prosecuted because the victim has no way of identifying her assailant. They’re almost invariably picked up via street hail, and taxi drivers clearly make no notes about picking up someone like an intoxicated young female they plan to attack.)

    “But considering that Uber and Lyft don’t meet with drivers before trusting them with their customers, one would hope they’d be open to another layer of safety.”

    Considering the KUT link in this sentence describes the exact opposite — a MEETING between a prospective driver and a LYFT MENTOR — one would hope TM would catch such an egregious misstatement prior to any article containing it going to press (or online, in this case).

    “Uber, at least, seems to be considering fingerprint background checks since they’re operating in Houston, which requires them, and they’re testing them out in California.”

    This one’s flat-out false: Uber isn’t “considering” anything of the sort. Houston is the one and only city where Uber capitulated and acquiesced to driver fingerprinting. (The lone exception is New York, but that’s an entirely unique case that transpired solely because the city’s Taxi & Limousine Commission is one of *the* most entrenched municipal agencies in America.) As was the case in Austin, the push for fingerprint checks came entirely from the Houston taxi lobby, not anyone with legitimate “public safety” concerns. Uber decided almost immediately after the Houston ordinance passed, however, to draw a de facto line in the sand: they were not going to put up with any more patently bogus attempts by the taxi lobby to convince local officials that their fingerprint checks were more effective than Uber’s electronic background checks. (Lyft, to its credit, had already reached this conclusion, and withdrew from the Houston market entirely because of it.) And that’s exactly what happened when the taxi lobby-influenced San Antonio City Council passed an ordinance similar to Houston’s: Uber and Lyft left town. And San Antonio officials, having ill-advisedly called their bluff, spent the better part of 2015 backtracking to get them back.

    “Also, this doesn’t mean necessarily mean the end of ridesharing in Austin. Days before city council reached its decision, a Dallas-based company called Get Me announced plans to relocate its headquarters to Austin and expand from delivery services into ridesharing.”

    So: a company announces it’s willing to pull up shop, relocate its entire HQ to Austin, and completely alter its business plan to add ride-hailing to the mix, and this announcement doesn’t raise ANY SUSPICIONS WHATSOEVER?? Seriously?!? (NB: The term “ridesharing” was nixed by the AP Style Guide over a year ago . . . yet *another* bit missed by TM editors.)

    “We will comply with the city ordinance. Being 113 days old, being new in the game in that sense, if [that’s] something that cities feel is the safest way for consumer and driver to feel protected, then we support that.”

    I’m guessing Ms. Oyeniyi is probably too young to get this reference, but when I read this sentence I think, “DANGER WILL ROBINSON! DANGER!”

    “Maybe that’s what will make Get Me’s transition into the rideshare business easy: their newness and flexibility.”

    The naivete of this comment borders on farce.

    “Either way, Austin has set its foot down.”

    Not even close. It would/will be a disaster on more levels than I can count if Austin does, indeed, drive Uber and Lyft out of town. Further, the only party here that has legitimately put their foot down is CM Kitchen; the rest of the council — with the notable, and noteworthy, exception of CM Ellen Troxclair, who’s seen straight through this canard from the get-go — are political neophytes who merely followed the leader here, without understanding the scope of the ramifications of their actions. Further still, Mayor Adler has *already* started backtracking on it, inferring on multiple occasions that any fingerprinting requirements would be “voluntary.” (This news came as quite a surprise to CM Kitchen, incidentally.)

    The only foot likely to be set down here is on Ann Kitchen’s political career.

    • wessexmom

      You’re just a shill for these companies. You provide no source or link to back up any of your assertions. Just because they were discussed before the city council doesn’t make them valid.

      • jk

        The source data for nearly everything I said can be found on recordings of city council meetings, available at austintexas.gov; through open-records requests, available to literally anyone who asks (and with no explanation required); or via Internet search. If you’re referring specifically to the near-complete lack of TNC-driver assaults that could have been stopped by a fingerprint check, I’ve seen the data personally, plus it, too, is available by request.

        Instead of making baseless accusations about me being a “shill,” it would behoove you to actually research what I said before posting knee-jerk reactions to what I wrote.

        • Albee Doh

          You continually prod people to post their data here (which I have done far more often than you have) but you virtually never do so yourself.

          Typical.

          Post your data here or just STFU already.

          www . kxan . com/investigative-story/austin-police-investigating-alleged-sex-assaults-by-uber-lyft-drivers/

          www . whosdrivingyou . org/rideshare-incidents

          • jk

            You got it: the total number of taxi permits in Austin is just under 800:

            austintaxidriver . org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/driving_drivers_to_the_ground.pdf

            In 2012 the city added 45 new taxi permits, or 6% of the then-existing total. Doing the math, that means there were 750 permits beforehand (750 x 0.06) and 795 afterwards. Taxi permits are swapped once a day. Austin has over 10,000 Uber drivers. (Sorry, the last two sentences are personal knowledge; I don’t have a “source.”)

            Doing the math: five of those 10,000 were accused of sexual assault, or one in 2,000. During that same time period, three of the 1790 taxi driver were accused of sexual assaults, or roughly 1 out of 600. Not even factoring in Lyft, someone is nearly 350% more likely to be raped by a taxi driver — and they’re the ones who ARE fingerprinted.

            QED: fingerprint checks don’t do jack.

          • Albee Doh

            Multiple problems with your comparisons:

            Of the accused (on both sides) how many were convicted and how many acquitted?

            Of the 10,000+/- Uber/Lyft drivers how many are active on a regular basis? How many work hours comparable to cabbies? How many barely drive?

            Also, for kicks, how often are cabbies assaulted compared to Uber/Lyft drivers? This raises an important question regarding the treatment and public perception of both.

            And the fact remains that Uber and Lyft have faulty checks. Criminals are eating thru their system.

          • jk

            “Of the accused (on both sides) how many were convicted and how many acquitted?”

            One can reasonably assume conviction rates are similar.

            “Of the 10,000+/- Uber/Lyft drivers how many are active on a regular basis?”

            Based on the data I’ve seen, a large majority of them work evenings Thursday through Saturday, but that’s merely stating what *should* already be obvious (to you, at least). Those are the periods with the highest demand as well as the highest likelihood of surge pricing. (They’re also the periods during which sexual assaults are most likely.)

            “Also, for kicks, how often are cabbies assaulted compared to Uber/Lyft drivers? This raises an important question regarding the treatment and public perception of both.”

            Unless you’re a complete dolt, you already know the answer: cabbies are assaulted far more often because a) they pick up random street hails and b) they often carry around large amounts of cash. I also fail to see how this question has anything to do with treatment and public perception of both. The general public, by and large, dislikes taxis and their drivers to a considerable degree, for reasons having nothing to do with assault rates.

            “And the fact remains that Uber and Lyft have faulty checks. Criminals are eating thru their system.”

            Oh, *please*. Uber now provides over a million rides PER DAY in the U.S. alone. A microscopic number of those (5-7/day) result in *any* type of crime, either by or against a driver. As for “faulty checks,” are you now claiming to be an expert on those as well? (akin to “Chuck Cotton” and his “expertise” in antitrust and RICO laws) No background check is perfect, but the Hirease ones used by both Uber and Lyft are far more comprehensive — not to mention accurate — than any mere fingerprint database, assuming they’re used correctly.