Florida County Becomes New Front In Uber, Lyft’s Biometric Background Check Fight

Florida’s Hillsborough County is moving to implement new regulations for ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

Florida County Becomes New Front In Uber, Lyft's Biometric Background Check FightA subcommittee of the county’s Public Transportation Committee voted to proceed with new legislation establishing a special category for ride-hailing companies called ‘transportation network companies’, or TNCs, and setting out specific regulations for such organizations, such as periodic vehicle inspections and the prohibition of price hikes during emergency situations.

One of the most contentious new regulations is likely to be a requirement for TNCs’ drivers to submit to fingerprint-based background checks. Uber and Lyft have spent millions of dollars fighting such measures across the US as cities and states have argued that the regulations will help to ensure public safety, and in some cases have discontinued their services in such places. It’s likely not a coincidence that the dissenting vote of the three-person subcommittee came from a Tampa City Council member, who explained that he was “trying to tread carefully” as he encouraged the PTC to come to terms with Uber and Lyft; Tampa is the largest metropolis in Hillsborough County, and the locus of the ride-hailing services’ operations.

All parties still have some slack in Hillsborough County. The new regulations could be subject to revision before they are considered by the PTC governing board on September 14th, and if Uber or Lyft formally challenge the rules, they will need to go through a second hearing. And as the Times notes, Uber is already questioning the PTC’s right to regulate its services in the state’s 2nd District Court of Appeal.

Source: Tampa Bay Times

August 16, 2016 – by Alex Perala