As it fights fingerprints, Uber rolls out more virtual lobbying with new ads


Austin Business Journal, Michael Theis

Uber Technologies Inc. is ramping up the pressure on Austin’s city leaders as a proposal to mandate fingerprint background checks for its drivers inches its way through City Hall.

The app-based ride-hailing company is airing new TV and radio ads featuring testimonials from area residents who talk up how the company’s taxi-like transportation service is making their lives safer and more convenient. It follows a similar campaign that debuted last week that said imposing the regulationswould take Austin transit back to the horse and buggy days.

In the latest ads, Uber makes its so-far most direct threat to leave if regulations it doesn’t like are implemented in Austin. City Council isn’t voting on whether or not to ban ride-hailing services such as Uber or Lyft Inc.

“Please don’t take Uber away,” pleads a woman at the close of the TV ad, which you can view below this article.

Uber, as it has been for months now, opposes a measure proposed by City Councilwoman Ann Kitchen that would require ride-hailing services such as Uber to have their drivers pass the same type of fingerprint-based criminal background checks faced by that traditional taxicab drivers.

But Uber doesn’t like fingerprint background checks, even though Forbes recently reported that the company has evaluated them for some drivers in California.