Texas agrees not to fingerprint taxi drivers
19 May 2017 15:56 GMT

Ride-sharing firms Uber and Lyft are set to return to Texas after the state agreed on new legislation that doesn’t mandate the fingerprinting of drivers.

This week, the Texas Legislature has passed a bill that establishes a statewide regulatory regime

The firms had left after Austin City Council passed an ordinance regulating ride-sharing services within the city limits that required biometrics.

But the bill is headed to the desk of Gov. Gregg Abbott, and as he is expected to sign – both companies seem set to return to Austin.

The statewide bill removes the fingerprinting requirements, a major sticking point for the companies, allowing the companies to do their own name-based background checks on drivers. It overrides any municipal ride-hailing ordinances and puts regulation under control of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Background checks on drivers would be mostly up to the companies.

Ride-hailing firm backers said Austin’s ordinance forced the popular companies to flee one of the most tech-centered cities in the country. Uber officials indicated they were ready to return to Austin and other cities that had strict rules governing ride-hailing companies.

“We look forward to making Uber available in more cities across Texas and continuing to serve drivers, riders, and the communities in which they live,” Sarfraz Maredia, general manager for Uber Texas, said in a statement.

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