Still confused by the ride-hailing app fingerprinting debate? Be sure to listen to the latest Shades of Green podcast. On January 14th’s show we had city council members Ann Kitchen (District 5) and Delia Garza (District 2), along with Sara LeVine from ATX Safer Streets, Jennifer Houlihan from Austin Music People, and Jonathan Laramy from Get Me. The show is a full hour of serious, in-depth discussion around ride-hailing apps in Austin and is definitely worth a listen.
Here are some highlights:
- “We cannot be held hostage to large companies telling us they’re going to leave because they don’t want any of these public safety requirements” – Ann Kitchen
- “Unfortunately it’s turned into a false choice… The crux of the conflict unfortunately has come down to concern that city council is trying to ban TNCs and that is not in fact the case.” – Delia Garza
- “It’s critical for the health of that industry [music] and that night life economy… that people get home safely.” – Jennifer Houlihan
- “Our whole focus is late night transportation. We want to make sure that there is plenty out there, that people have the options that they need, and they feel safe doing them…The people that come to us, that work in the night life, they come to us and they don’t feel like they’re getting listened to by the council…” – Sara LeVine
Update: Since this show was recorded, Ridesharing Works for Austin gathered enough signatures to force the fingerprinting issue onto the ballot. On January 19th, they revealed that they had collected 65,103 signatures in just 21 days in support of essentially repealing the City Council’s new background check rule, forcing council to either comply immediately (within 10 days after all of the signatures are validated) or to put the issue on the ballot for the public to vote on.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler has also since floated a compromise program that he is calling, Thumbs Up Austin, which would incentivize fingerprinting, rather than making it mandatory. It is unclear at this point how the mayor’s proposal will affect Ridesharing Works for Austin’s ballot initiative. However, it does appear that these issues will be brought up at the upcoming City Council meeting on January 28th.