Uber Goes Over Miami-Dade's Head and Takes Fight to Tallahassee

Categories: Road Rage

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On-demand car service Uber fought and lost a battle in Miami-Dade to ease restrictions that forbid it from operating in the county, so now the company has taken its fight directly to Tallahassee. Uber has enlisted a pair of Republican legislators to file bills that would override the local regulations that impede its operation in Miami.

See also: Uber, a Text-Message Car Service, Might Come to Miami

Uber allows customers with a smartphone and credit card to order a chauffeured car on demand from an app. To ensure that supply never overcomes demand, the company charges more during peak usage times.

The problem is that Miami-Dade has several regulations that prevent other chauffeured car services from competing with traditional taxis. For example, riders must wait at least one hour between when they order a non-taxi chauffeured car and when it arrives. Drivers must charge more than $70 per hire, and cars must be hired for at least two hours. Essentially, Miami law relegates non-taxi hired car services to the realm of traditional limos.

Uber partnered with Commissioner Audrey Edmonson to repeal these laws last year, but ultimately that measure was pushed aside in favor of modernizing (somewhat, anyway) Miami's traditional cabs. In January, the county commission finally passed an ordinance that required all cabs to accept credit cards, long after it became de facto in most major American cities.

Uber has also been impeded in taking its service to Tampa and Orlando; so far, it operates only in Jacksonville.

So now the company has announced on its blog that Sen. Jeff Brandes and Rep. Jamie Grant, both Republicans, have introduced legislation that would essentially override all of those local restrictions with new state laws.

Current Florida law specifically regulates the power to "license and regulate taxis, jitneys, limousines for hire, rental cars, and other passenger vehicles for hire" to local governments. The bills would carve out a specific exception for Uber.

Here's the money shot straight from the Senate version of the bill:

The Legislature intends to provide a uniform statewide level of regulation of emerging transportation technology to provide stability and predictability to businesses seeking to implement such technology, to provide convenience and safety to the traveling public, and to enhance personal mobility. Accordingly, the regulation of chauffeured limousines, chauffeured limousine services, and drivers of chauffeured limousines is hereby preempted to the state. Further regulation thereof by a county, a municipality, or any other political subdivision of the state is void.

So, basically, the bill would take powers away that have belonged to counties for ages.

Granted, Miami-Dade's reluctance to require taxis to accept credit cards until 2014 shows the county might not have its citizens' and consumers' best interests in mind with regard to these issues.

On the other hand, the bill would take what has long been a local issue and put its fate in the hands of legislators across the state, many of whom represent districts that will likely not see Uber for a long time. It would also make it more difficult for individual counties to tweak laws regarding Uber to whatever works best locally.

Of course, Uber urges you to contact your state legislators to support the bill.

We suggest first contacting your county commissioner so it doesn't come to that.

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30 comments
colitisscope
colitisscope

If you live in these areas DO NOT let Uber do this to your community.  They do not effect legal cab service in the way you would think but they have no valid insurance for their service.  Their promotion is destructive and deceptive.  If they made the kind of money that they claim they do, they could be getting legal permits and insurance for these drivers and their vehicles.  The fact that they do not is proof enough.

miamiguy123
miamiguy123

Hate to break it to you but the taxi drivers that are on board with uber are just saying that so they can get better working conditions. Miami is seasonal and a tourist destination we dont have the volume San Fran,NYC,Chicago only Sobe is busy on the weekdays only certain times of year is their a shortage of taxis, Basel,New Years,also with constructions & accidents

  We also have google on our metro pcs phones so we read up on the uber driver program no thanks we are not trying to go bankrupt theres not enough business volume to upkeep a Lincoln town car and miamis constructed roads will destroy the suspension. We also googled and read about all the lawsuits uber has with their own drivers in San Fran & Chicago how come know one mentions that also ?


  They just have to hire more inspectors and give some overtime and require every TAXI COMPANY IN MIAMI TO HAVE THEIR OWN CALL CENTER AND STOP HAVING A FAX MACHINE PICK UP OR HAVING CALLS FORWARDED TO A BIGGER COMPANY.

the inspectors can inspect them CALL CENTERS AND make sure they  are being worked. It would also save lives you would have less people driving to the beach DRUNK  from Kendall,Miami lakes,Aventura,Doral


 Also for big events they can give temporary llicenses to Limos and Van Shuttles and buses in Miami and bring down Taxi & Limo companies from Broward to help out.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Boycott the Greedy Big $$ Taxi Monopolies!


Support your local independent Ride Sharing / Carpooling service !!



Ken Taylor
Ken Taylor

Used Uber in Vegas, Chicago, & DC and was fantastic. Time for Miami to get with the times from a technology and convenience standpoint.

Uber Drivers of America
Uber Drivers of America

While we think Uber has revolutionized the method in which people connect with transportation there needs a lot to be said for Uber Drivers of America with regard to the feasibility of chauffeurs of being able to make a decent living after both operating expenses as well as Uber's commission. The faster growing problem is driver sentiment not legislation. Would you consider yourself a "partner" if your emails are never returned?

Alex Cue
Alex Cue

After living in SF, I can firmly say that it's uber-dumb to not have this service (or Lyft and Sidecar) in Miami. So much more convenient than shitty yellow taxis.

adestudio
adestudio

I am a taxi driver in Dade 99 % of the public

does not know how this taxi industry works

it is just a mafia ...controled and ruled by a tiny group of people...

E-striker
E-striker

Miami cabbies are some of the scummiest I've come across. Uber would force a recasting of the business model that other gateway cities have done and are benefiting from. If you're against Uber in Miami youre probably a criminal, a strip club owner, or both.

rybender87
rybender87

I love how people cry about the taxi industry "buying votes" or the taxi "lobbyists" being too powerful. I don't think people really understand what's going on here. The majority of taxi drivers are self-employed or work for a small business. Uber, on the other hand has been valued at 5 Billion. It's Uber who has the $$$. It's Uber who's using it to help persuade policies. And it's Uber running million dollar marketing campaigns to persuade the public. Uber technology is awesome, I get it. But that doesn't mean you should follow blindly... at least think about the situation at hand and open your damn eyes. 

Pau Her Ben
Pau Her Ben

It's an awesome service!!! Used it in boston when it came out...

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.................the cabbies are SLAVE LABOR haitians who themselves live in squalor and abject poverty and are the cheapest labor available absent criminals - its the corrupt politicians and scummy business operators that take the lion's share and do not want competition from legitimate businesses that do not pay kick-backs or bribes

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..................................then again isn't it local politicians that typically get convicted for fraud and corruption taking kick-backs and bribes ?

i think the POINT is criminal politicians on the take are pushing against a LEGITIMATE business that would INCREASE competition which is typically GOOD for the consumer - the MORE alternatives the BETTER for customers

this UBER is good and is proven itself elsewhere its just as is typical in MIAMI the politicians don't vote for anything that they don't get a piece of = period

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