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The Source: City Council To Vote On Uber, Lyft Regulations In SA

Núcleo Editorial on Flickr http://bit.ly/2hhqCxE

Tomorrow's City Council vote on regulation changes for ride-hailing companies, taxis and limousines will likely decide the future of operations for Uber and Lyft in San Antonio. 

The two major ride-hailing companies previously left the city, as they have left many others, in response to a call for mandatory 10-fingerprint background checks for drivers. The services maintain they shouldn't be regulated like traditional taxis. 

A year-long, Council-approved pilot program brought the ride-hailing companies back to town with a voluntary fingerprinting program, but the majority of drivers did not opt in. Uber, Lyft and local technology advocacy group TechBloc have committed to various measures that will encourage drivers to do so moving forward. 

Representatives from traditional transportation companies continue to fight back, saying the city's deal was unfair and ride-hailing operations are unsafe, as the taxi industry pushes for further de-regulation of vehicles for hire in an attempt to level the playing field. 

San Antonio Police Department Assistant Director Steve Baum said he thinks the companies' third-party background checks are safe enough. At this time, no San Antonio-based Uber or Lyft drivers have been convicted of any serious crimes. Some Council members still aren't convinced, and say ensuring rider safety should be the top priority.

Supporters say these companies are important for various reasons, including to provide more transportation options for a growing population, to increase San Antonio's value as a tech-forward city and to reduce the number of drunken-driving fatalities.

The controversy could become a moot point if a bill to create statewide regulations for transportation network companies passes the 2017 Legislature.