Public safety was deemed important enough in Austin, Texas, to put the issue of fingerprinting ride-share drivers to a vote. Fingerprinting won, and despite how simple and inexpensive it is to get a driver fingerprinted, Uber elected to cease operations in Austin rather than accept the will of the people and prioritize public safety. The company no doubt reasoned that if it complied in Austin, it would be setting a precedent for compliance in every city. This $65 billion company, which has already had drivers arrested for murder and sexual assaults, opts to leave its customers vulnerable rather than submit to the regulations that every taxi company in the nation is required to obey.
Here in Santa Barbara, our city councilmembers are oblivious or apathetic to the vulnerability of its citizens and the myriad tourists who visit our little paradise. Should a poorly vetted Uber driver commit a felonious act on someone here, Uber would resist culpability, claiming that it is only a connection device and that the “independent contractor” driver bears sole responsibility. This leaves the victim(s) with threadbare recourse, leading to a probable lawsuit against the city.
Any bureaucracy that fails to act in the best interests of its constituents is either 1) derelict in its duties, or 2) bought and paid for.
San Francisco has recently mandated that ride-share operators obtain business licenses. Hello! In that they are providing transportation for a fee, it would seem like a slam dunk to require this of them. Here in S.B. though, taxi drivers must have one, but ride share drivers are given a pass. This is ludicrous! Shouldn’t our city be receiving something from the ride-share industry, in exchange for allowing them to decimate the existing industry that they’re collecting from?
Come on, City Council, do your job!