If Uber gave out free rides for every time, they caused a stir due to their unfair treatment of drivers, displacement of jobs and general scandals involving harassment or sexism, we may never need to buy a car again. The taxi aggregator has once again come under fire, this time in the windy city of Chicago.
Earlier in the year, Transportation Committee Chairman Anthony Beale (9th) explained that, after conducting an “independent study”, a city commission was ready to recommend that the city not adopt the obligation for Uber and Lyft drivers to undergo fingerprinting.
However, Beale, who is in favor of the process, decided to proceed instead of waiting for the committee to release their final report. He pushed through his committee an ordinance that would force ride hailing drivers to “submit to fingerprinting, provide a photograph” and pay a processing fee, regardless of the fact that it may still be approved or denied.
Beale argues the extra measure is important, especially for riders because it’s “one way to make sure a person is who they say they are,” he said. Adding, “six months is a long time to wait past the deadline. It’s important that we go ahead and move this forward.”
A price cap will also be introduced to curb unfair price surges due to unforeseen events, such as suicides on the Chicago’s railway line, resulting in Uber charging obscene amounts for rides. This has been one of the main motivators to cap their prices. During that particular occurrence one commuter stated “I’m going to wait for the bus. I told my boss I was late, and that the Ubers are like $50, and I’m just like, ‘No, I don’t want to go to work that bad”.
Beale reflected this opinion stating “A $12 cab ride turned into over $100 because they surge-priced. They’re taking advantage of a person’s misfortune.” adding “I believe that this is the right thing to do for the public safety and for the well-being of the people,”.
However, both Uber and Lyft have taken a stance against fingerprinting in the past, as it would discriminate against minorities who are far more likely to have an interaction with the criminal justice system, but often due to minor, nonviolent offenses where the charges are dropped but the record has not yet been expunged.
These taxi aggregates, with a particular emphasis on Uber, need to maintain strong public support and remember that public opinion can make or break their reputation in local areas and cities. While Uber may have made a couple of extra bucks at times of demand, whether or not that is due to unfortunate circumstances, they will most likely suffer because of it as Chicagoans clearly won’t stand for it.