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Future of rideshare in San Antonio debated

Public safety, economic fairness argued Thursday at City Hall

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SAN ANTONIO – The future of rideshare in San Antonio is once again up for debate. Both sides were arguing over public safety and economic fairness Thursday morning at City Hall.

A new Lyft pilot program promises to protect passengers. Approval of the program would suspend the current policies already regulating the local rideshare industry, policies that drove Lyft out of San Antonio earlier this year.

The pilot would run for nine months. All Lyft drivers would have to pass the company's mandatory background check, but they would have the option to undergo a fingerprint background check.

Fingerprinting was a requirement the city approved twice this year, which resulted in rideshare companies leaving town.

The program also comes with a zero-tolerance drug policy and vehicle inspections.

Lyft officials said they're bending over backward to get back into the San Antonio market, while their opponents are asking that they play by the same rules as taxi and limousine companies.

"I urge you to consider the agreement before you that has been thoroughly vetted, has never been agreed to before, but was important to San Antonio officials," said April Mims, public policy manager of Lyft.

"We're not here to keep you out of San Antonio, but you need to play by the rules and do the background checks for public safety," said concerned citizen T.C. Calvert.

Public safety has been at the center of the issue, but supporters of the pilot program said consumers will be protected because they'll be able to choose whether to ride with a driver who has not been fingerprinted.

Council discussion is underway. KSAT 12 News will have more on the crucial vote soon.