Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says the arrest of an Uber driver accused of raping a sixteen-year-old shows why the city should have more oversight of the ride sharing industry.
Prosecutors say the driver had a criminal record before he started driving for Uber — though it's unclear to what extent, and many of the driver's run-ins with law enforcement appear to have been for non-violent violations.
Speaking to reporters after a festive raising of the Dominican flag outside of City Hall today, Walsh cited the case as an example of why he thinks the city should be able to impose the same kinds of rules on ride hailing companies it does on taxis.
“It certainly bothers me,” said Walsh. “Having two million Uber trips a month … and a lot of people being picked up and dropped off in the city, we would love to have regulation on that, and we have the ability to do that, we do that with the cabs.”
In Boston, Taxis are overseen by the Boston Police Department’s Hackney Unit.
“I have no problem with Uber or Lyft or car sharing services in our city,” Walsh added, “But we have to have a level playing field here and we don’t have it right now.”
The new state law requires ride hailing companies to conduct criminal background checks on all drivers – but legislators rejected Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evan’s call to include fingerprint checks. Walsh didn’t specify what extra measures he’d want the city to impose if it could.
Walsh also took a swipe at another provision of the recent state law, which imposes a 20 cent fee on each ride, ten cents of which goes to the city.
“It’s pennies,” said Walsh.