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Background Checks Prove to be Main Stumbling Block between Ashland and Rideshare Companies

The Ashland City Council is thinking about allowing rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in the city. The city said it is trying to negotiate a very important issue.

Posted: May 9, 2018 6:46 PM

ASHLAND, Ore. -- The Ashland City Council is thinking about allowing rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in the city. The city said it is trying to negotiate a very important issue.

Steven Ryan can't wait for the day he can call an Uber or Lyft from Ashland.

"It's another option. We have the bus, we have regular cabs, we have the bike shares so it would just be nice to see rideshares get here for easy use primarily," Ryan said.

Right now he lives in Medford but sometimes works in Ashland. He's frustrated he’s able to take a Lyft from Medford to Ashland but getting back to Medford he said won't be as convenient.

“Well since I can't use Lyft, I will probably take RVTD and pay two dollars."

The Ashland City Council has been negotiating with the different rideshare companies on how to do background checks but now those negotiations are on pause. The City Attorney said Uber and Lyft conduct background checks that look back seven years into a potential driver's record. The Ashland City Council wants the rideshares to check back ten years. They said they want to make sure when you step into one of those cars that you're in good hands.

"That's an issue in terms of safety of riders. I guess we feel like we've been fairly accommodating there are some cities that require that background check to be based on fingerprints," said Ashland City Attorney David Lohman.

Lohman added Uber and Lyft have objected to that negotiation. NewsWatch 12 reached out to Uber but haven't gotten a call back. Now it's uncertain if anyone will ever be able to use a rideshare in Ashland. Ryan hopes the rideshares and the city will be able to get over that hurdle soon.

"I just find it easy to open my phone, ask to get picked up, they come get me. I get to talk to somebody. I get to talk to somebody about where I'm going. It's always been a positive experience.”

The Ashland City Council plans to talk more about the ordinance and rideshares again during the next scheduled meeting on June 5th.

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