While the Atlanta City Council transportation committee put on hold its consideration of a proposal to legalize and regulate Uber X and Lyft pickups at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the issue continues to generate strong opinions on both sides.
Uber and Lyft drivers, on one side, and taxi drivers on the other came to the committee’s meeting Wednesday to make public comments voicing their positions on the airport’s proposal, which includes a requirement for drivers to undergo fingerprint-based background checks. The committee is postponing action on the measure to allow time for a work session on the issue.
Uber argues that the background checks its drivers already undergo, which do not require fingerprints, are sufficient. It has said it would not operate at the airport if Hartsfield-Jackson puts in its proposed set of rules. Lyft has expressed a similar position.
Taxi drivers, who undergo fingerprint-based background checks by the state, argue other drivers should also be required to complete the checks for safety and a level playing field.
Uber X ride-share drivers regularly pick up passengers at the airport, though Hartsfield-Jackson says such pickups are illegal.
Meanwhile, the Internet Association, a Washington-based lobbying group whose members include Uber and Lyft as well as Facebook, Amazon, Google and Twitter, wrote a letter this week to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Atlanta city council members saying the airport’s proposal “denies millions of residents and visitors to Atlanta a reliable and affordable transportation option at ATL.”
The association’s vice president for state government affairs Dustin Brighton called the airport’s proposed rules “redundant and discriminatory requirements that do nothing more than provide a barrier to transportation competition at ATL,” according to the letter.
Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Miguel Southwell has said the requirement for fingerprint-based criminal background checks by the state “gives everybody confidence in the system…. It really should be a welcome part of the process.”
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