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Letter: All who drive the public should undergo checks

All who drive the public should undergo checks

Much has been made of the fact that upstate cities, and Western New York in particular, are among the few heavily or moderately populated regions in the country without ride-hailing services. Companies like Uber and Lyft have spent tens of millions of dollars in lobbying efforts to persuade elected and appointed officials to allow them to gain access to the transportation industry, demanding that drivers undergo no police background or fingerprint checks. This flies in the face of logic and puts the traveling public at risk. The first duty of public officials should be the safety of the citizens of the municipalities they represent.

Traditional transportation company officials like myself want more regulation and monitoring of drivers, not less or none. Police background and fingerprint checks are vital in helping to ensure that we have drivers who are competent and safe to transport the public. One cannot ignore the horror stories circulating of unlicensed drivers assaulting passengers, particularly women traveling alone.

If ride-hailing services are allowed to operate in Western New York, they must be subject to the same licensing standards and restrictions as are currently applied to traditional transportation companies. Uber’s insistence that it not be subject to the same standards can only be attributed to its avarice and disregard for the public safety. It is up to our officials to insist that all for-hire drivers undergo police background checks, fingerprinting and subsequent licensing.

Gerald Chiarmonte

Vice President, ITA Airport Taxi Service

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