SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio City Council on Thursday approved extending an agreement with transportation network companies or rideshare service companies, like Uber, Lyft and Get Me.
The one-year agreement goes into effect Dec. 31. There are three optional one-year extensions within the agreement.
Many community members shared their opinions before the vote. The majority of the opinions centered on a major sticking point of fingerprint background checks.
The new agreement keeps fingerprinting for drivers optional, which the San Antonio Police Department will continue to offer.
Rideshare apps indicate whether drivers have undergone the fingerprinting background check, which allows customers to choose a driver who has undergone one.
"If riders care about that, they can choose fingerprinted drivers. We think this solution balances consumer choice with public safety in a really elegant way and also makes sure rideshare stays, and we can attack this drunken driving problem," David Heard, CEO of Tech Bloc, said.
Taxicab drivers who have to go through mandatory background checks said the system is not fair and doesn't go far enough to protect public safety.
"The Council knows it didn't work, and they're still allowing these companies, these corporations, to come in and control the agenda and do it all over again, voluntarily," Robert Gonzales, a taxicab driver, said.
City Council also approved changes to the fee structure for transportation network companies and reduces operating fees for taxi cabs and limousines.