San Antonio is no longer without any rideshare companies.
The ride-hailing company Lyft is poised to return in the “near future” to San Antonio — after the City Council reviews a proposed pilot program next week.
Councilman Roberto Treviño, who spent the summer negotiating a deal with the company, said Friday that Lyft officials have entered into an operating agreement that will provide consumer choice on background checks.
That was a major sticking point when the council passed an ordinance this year requiring drivers from Lyft and Uber, known as “transportation network companies,” or “TNCs,” to pass a criminal history check based on fingerprints.
The companies balked, saying the checks didn’t fit their business models, and left town. Both use a third-party background check based on Social Security numbers. Uber has said its system is superior to the city’s, which relies on what’s uploaded into an FBI database.
“What we’ve done is try to take a different approach regarding the issue of the background checks,” Treviño said. “The big point is really that we’re providing consumer choice, and Lyft has worked with us, has demonstrated that we can include within their existing platform to inform people those that are willing to go through a city background process.”
Under the pilot program, drivers will continue to go through Lyft’s background check. But those who opt to go through the city’s fingerprint check will be issued an identification number from the Police Department and will be authorized to include it on their driver profiles. Additionally, they’ll be able to note whether they’re active-duty military or veterans, officials said.
Uber has not agreed to enter the pilot program. The company did not respond to questions from the San Antonio Express-News.
Under the agreement, Lyft will also be able to legally originate rides at the San Antonio International Airport. The company will pay $1 per ride to the airport coffers, just as the taxicabs do, said Deputy City Manager Erik Walsh, the top city staffer who helped negotiate the deal.
If the council approves the program at its Thursday meeting, the nine-month pilot would begin when Lyft is ready to redeploy here. A spokeswoman said it would be in the “near future” but declined to be more specific.
See here and here for the background. Don’t know why Lyft but not Uber was enticed to return, but that makes San Antonio the mirror image of Houston, in that we have Uber but not Lyft. I suppose it would be worthwhile to ask the Mayoral candidates if they think it’s worthwhile to revisit Houston’s regulations to see if Lyft might be enticed to set up shop here; I for one have no intention of using Uber but might give Lyft a try. They didn’t have anything to say when the Lege was considering bills that would have taken the matter out of the city’s hands, so perhaps none of them have given this any thought. It’s still worth asking about. The Rivard Report and the Current have more.