Uber, Lyft Threaten to Leave Maryland Over Biometric Background Checks

“The legislation is set to take effect December 15th, but the Maryland Public Service Commission will hold hearings on the matter starting this Thursday, with Uber and Lyft officials expected to participate.”

Ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft are threatening to halt operations in Maryland if they are forced to comply with new legislation requiring that drivers undergo fingerprint-based background checks.Uber, Lyft Threaten to Leave Maryland Over Biometric Background Checks

It’s the latest battle in a bigger war, with the companies having made similar protests in numerous other jurisdictions. Government authorities, backed by the taxi services losing marketshare to their new competitors, advocate for fingerprint background checks as a public safety measure; in the state of Maryland, such background checks are standard practice for taxi drivers, but Uber and Lyft argue that their own internal vetting processes are sufficient.

The legislation is set to take effect December 15th, but the Maryland Public Service Commission will hold hearings on the matter starting this Thursday, with Uber and Lyft officials expected to participate.

In Austin, where Uber and Lyft halted operations this past spring for the same reason, the services were quickly replaced by smaller ride-hailing companies eager to comply with new fingerprint background check regulations, though no substantial difference has yet been observed in passenger safety statistics.

Sources: The Baltimore Sun, Maryland News, CBS Baltimore

November 22, 2016 – by Alex Perala