Update (6/20/16): Looks like Uber and Lyft may be safe for now. Ald. Beale has agreed to ‘study’ the fingerprinting issue for 6 months and will not require rideshare services to fingerprint their drivers – for now.
This Wednesday, the Chicago City Council will vote on an ordinance that could force Uber and Lyft to pull out of the city indefinitely. If this story sounds familiar, it should. Over the past year, Uber and Lyft have waged regulatory battles in several high profile locales (New York, Broward County, etc), and neither company is currently operating in Austin due to a recent fingerprinting requirement imposed by the city council.
We actually traveled to Austin a couple weeks ago to see the situation first-hand, and now it looks like Chicago might be next. Many municipalities have tried to impose stricter taxi-like regulations over the past year, and it’s been a huge sticking point for the TNCs. In fact, anything that involves fingerprinting of drivers or impediments to on-boarding is likely to elicit pull-out threats from Uber and Lyft since these companies rely on being able to churn and burn through their workforce. By Uber’s own admission, they lose half of all drivers after just 12 months and, when you factor in their growth, they need to hire at least 60,000 new drivers every single month (according to my calculations) just to run efficiently.