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Uber drafts its own MOU

Thursday, February 11, 2016 by Eva Ruth Moravec

Disinterested in Mayor Steve Adler’s latest proposal to incentivize drivers for transportation network companies to be fingerprinted, Uber has proposed its own memorandum of understanding, a spokeswoman said Wednesday. Noticeably missing from the draft are the perks – like special pick-up and drop-off locations for fingerprinted drivers – found in Adler’s proposal. Adler did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but he has steadfastly held onto the concept of incentivizing fingerprinting while not mandating the fingerprint-based background checks that Uber and Lyft have said will run them out of town. Lyft has said it helped Adler with his MOU and would support it so long as City Council adopts the TNC ordinance proposed by citizens (up for Council vote today). “We are uncomfortable with the incentives that he suggested, which would cut drivers off of some of the busiest places in the city,” Uber spokeswoman Jennifer Mullin said in a telephone interview with the Austin Monitor. “This is a good-faith effort that we want to do new things.” Mullin said that Uber already has a dedicated law enforcement liaison who helps police investigate allegations against drivers, and the MOU would call for the city to dedicate someone from the Austin Police Department to partner with TNCs and “expedite information sharing in the event of a safety-related investigation.” Like Adler’s latest MOU draft, Uber’s proposal would call for the TNC to pay a one-time fee of $25,000. Unlike Adler’s MOU, though, Uber’s draft does not include an additional fee of 0.5 percent of annual sales. The proposal is one of several related to TNCs that could come before Council on Thursday. Public comment on the items is scheduled for 4 p.m.

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