In the political fight between LA's taxicab drivers and Uber, the cabbies just scored a big PR point. They gave City Hall officials, and apparently the LA Times, the criminal backgrounds of eight Uber drivers cited for operating at LAX. In four of the cases, the drivers had been convicted of charges so serious — child exploitation, identity theft, manslaughter and driving under the influence — they would not be licensed to drive a taxi in Los Angeles. Four other Uber drivers had records for misdemeanors or crimes that were too old that licensing would be barred. Uber responded by saying their background checks are on par with those conducted for taxi drivers — then pointed to instances where taxi drivers had criminal records.
From the LA Times story:
The disclosures come as the Los Angeles City Council weighs whether to assert jurisdiction over a new airport permit process that would allow Uber and other app-based ride companies to legally pick up passengers at LAX. And they raise new questions about how effectively the transportation giant screens its drivers.
The taxi industry has fought to keep Uber and similar ride-hailing services from operating at LAX, saying that they create unfair competition because their drivers are held to a lower standard than licensed taxi drivers.
Last week, six City Council members moved to reexamine the airport permit process, saying that elected officials should be given time to weigh in on questions related to public safety. If the motion passes Wednesday, the council could veto the policy and send it back to airport officials for revision.
“These are cases that reinforce the need to have this kind of dialogue,” said Councilman Paul Krekorian, who has asked the council to assert jurisdiction over the Board of Airport Commissioners. “They’re very good examples of why it’s important.”
Also: An Uber driver was shot and wounded Tuesday afternoon in Venice when someone outside the car fired on his passengers, possibly in a gang conflict. Police say the passengers may also have been armed.