HOUSTON, TX - Before the Super Bowl, the Uber brawl. Just when the City of Houston is putting all the logistics together for America's top sporting event - enough transportation for visitors being one of them - Uber is threatening to leave us.
"The City of Houston does not compromise on public safety," expressed Mayor Sylvester Turner. "We want them to stay, but only if they follow our rules."
The conflict is over new regulations: Uber drivers will be required to pass more extensive background checks, including having their fingerprints taken.
"The city's fingerprint background checks found that hundreds of Uber applicants for licenses who have been through their background check, had prior criminal histories," Turner said, "for murder, assault and battery, indecent exposure, DWI, DUI, prostitution and aggravated robbery."
In a letter, Uber said this will hurt their finances and delays the hiring process of new drivers. But surprisingly, most Uber drivers we interviewed stand with the mayor.
"I do feel it's right," exclaimed Dee Taylor. "The city wants to do the fingerprints and they should. This job is for us to take passengers safely."
It looks like Uber and the City of Houston are playing chicken with each other. Uber provides the jobs, and Houston the drunk passengers. Let's see who flinches first.
"If Uber decided to pull out of Houston, that would be it," Rudel Victor concluded. "There's Get Me, there's PocketCab, there's Lyft. So, I think that wouldn't be the end of ride-sharing for Houston."
Whether this is a conflict solely over safety or other interests play a part, we don't know. But one thing is for sure: there's a bumpy ride ahead.