HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) — The battle between ride-hailing companies and the PTC continues in Hillsborough County after the commission voted to require fingerprint background checks for drivers. News Channel 8’s Mary McGuire talked with Uber driver Rolnita Wilson Thursday morning who opposes the new fingerprint background check requirement.
Snacks, water bottles, even a phone charger; Uber driver Rolnita Wilson likes to make things comfortable for her customers, even if she isn’t comfortable with the new rules in Hillsborough County.
“The only thing fingerprinting does is give us the idea that we are safe, but are you really safe? Just by fingerprinting someone, that does not determine the mental state of a person, there are numerous people who have committed crimes for the first time,” said Wilson.
Wilson has been driving with the company since April. As a single mother, Wilson relies on Uber to support herself and her two children, making such good money, she quit her other job to drive full-time.
“I make enough money to pay all of my bills and still provide the things that my children need. I need something that is very flexible, so that I am able to pick them up from school take them to school, be there for their sporting events,” said Wilson.
On Wednesday, the PTC considered rules that would require a minimum fare, minimum wait time for rides and a fingerprint background check, which was the only item the commission decided to continue on with.
The PTC controls taxis, limos and tow trucks and is trying to enforce rules on the ride-hailing services. A PTC committee suggested requiring a fingerprint background check for drivers along with a minimum seven minute wait time for rides and a minimum $7 fair for each ride.
Hillsborough County is the only county in the Tampa Bay area with a public transportation commission and the only county trying to enforce rules on the ride services. Many people at a Wednesday meeting urged the PTC to vote down the rules saying they are about limiting competition, not public safety.
Eventually, the commission passed a compromise requiring fingerprint background checks, but doing away with the minimum fair and wait times. Uber still says they will pull out of the county if the rules are enforced.
Even though Wilson disagrees with the new rule, she tells News Channel 8 she won’t stop driving.
“Ultimately, I want my customers to be happy and I want them to feel safe, so if that is a requirement, as a driver, I would do everything necessary to be within the guidelines Uber sets forth,” said Wilson.