Last year, Austin passed a temporary ordinance that allowed ridesharing services to operate, but future legislation could add mandated fingerprinting. In fact, these checks are already in place for those that drive taxis, limos, and busses in the city. However, Uber and Lyft currently do their own background evaluations for employees.
The ridesharing apps argue that fingerprinting is a step backward for the services there. "Don't fix what's not broken," Uber Chief Adviser David Plouffe said, according to The Texas Tribune. Requiring the largely part-time drivers to go someplace to get checked dissuades new hires, they claim. The businesses intend to lobby the state legislature for a Texas-wide evaluation system in 2017.
Other major cities there are already in favor of fingerprinting. Houston requires it, and Lyft doesn't offer service there. Conversely, San Antonio makes the checks voluntary, but app users can opt to only use the inspected drivers. Uber doesn't operate there.
Outside background checks have been a thorny subject in the ridesharing industry elsewhere, too. St. Louis, MO, allowed Uber to operate there as long as drivers were fingerprinted, and the company filed a federal lawsuit to fight the rule. The business left Kansas in part for the same reason. Cases in California have also concerned the issue.