Atlanta, Los Angeles eye tighter rules for Uber drivers

POSTED: MONDAY, MARCH 21, 2016 12:00 AM

Associated Press |

ATLANTA — Atlanta’s airport — the world’s busiest — and Los Angeles officials want to force Uber drivers to get fingerprint-based background checks, but the ride-hailing service is balking.

Officials in both cities are weighing measures to require Uber and similar companies to tighten standards in an effort to ferret out drivers who have had serious trouble with the law. The debate over safety has come amid rapid growth by Uber and other app-based ride-booking services and intensified last month, when police say an Uber driver went on a shooting spree in Michigan that led to six deaths.

 The Atlanta City Council will review a proposed fingerprint requirement on March 30 that airport officials have been advocating. Officials at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport said they might be inclined to lift the current ban on ride-booking services if fingerprint-based background checks are implemented.

But Uber has sharply opposed the proposal. Company spokesman Bill Gibbons said that such a requirement would add “substantial, additional bureaucratic barriers for drivers,” many of whom work part time driving customers when they can.

Uber said the proposal is out of step with operating agreements it has with about 50 U.S. airports, which it says don’t require fingerprint-based background checks. Among them is Denver International Airport, which allows regular Uber drivers to drop off and pick up passengers in the same public areas where family members and friends pick up passengers, airport spokesman Heath Montgomery said.