Boston Police this week launched a new effort to fingerprint every cab driver in the city, beginning on Monday.
“This program is intended to ensure the highest standards of safety for the traveling public,” the department wrote in a blog post announcing the move, adding that police “will now have another investigative resource at their disposal to allow them to conduct even more thorough background checks.”
There are 6,000 taxi drivers licensed to operate in Boston through the Boston Police Hackney Carriage Unit. Each of them will need to have their fingerprints taken when it comes time for an annual license renewal process, the release said.
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Boston’s Police Commissioner William Evans said in a statement that cab drivers “welcomed” the new policy.
“The cab drivers in this city are hardworking men and women who welcomed this new safety requirement. When the citizens of Boston get into a cab, they trust that operator to get them to their destination safely every single time. Fingerprinting is another step we can take as a police department to help make sure that happens.”
The move comes amid debate over regulations for ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, which compete with cabs for riders.
Lawmakers drafting new rules for the companies are weighing a proposal that would force the services to require their drivers have their fingerprints taken before taking passengers.
Evans has said he supports adding the fingerprinting requirement to ride-hailing regulations, but the idea has been met with friction from civil rights advocates who worry that fingerprinting might exclude drivers who have arrests, but not convictions on their records.
Additional reporting from the State House News Service