Why Taxi Drivers Don't Want Uber in Miami

Categories: Road Rage

taxiokok.jpg
via Scott Thompson's Flickr / MNT Flickr Pool
Ashton Kutcher made an unplanned cameo during a Florida Senate Transportation Committee meeting two weeks ago. Uber representatives presented a clip of the Two and Half Men star and Uber investor on Jimmy Kimmel Live blasting Miami for not changing longstanding laws to accommodate the upstart car service.

"Basically, it's like mafioso, like village mentality of like we're not gonna let the new guy in," the actor said. "Like in Miami."

Diego Feliciano might be considered one of those mafiosi. Feliciano is the president of the South Florida Taxicab Association. A man who got his start more than 30 years ago as a cab driver, Feliciano says Uber seeks to skim the top off taxis' business while potentially threatening service to those who can't afford the app.

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

"I just don't see the taxicab industry existing in Miami-Dade County if someone gets to do what we want to do and not doing what we have to do," he said in a recent interview with Riptide. "It's just not a fair playing field."

Feliciano also says the Miami taxi industry now realizes the need to innovate. Not only are credit card readers coming soon to all cabs, but also more cab companies will likely partner with competing Uber-like apps in the near future.

New Times spoke with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick last September, but for the uninitiated, the venture-capitalist-backed San Francisco startup allows users to pull up an app on their smartphone and order one of its cars, usually black luxury sedans. Payment is handled through the app by credit card, and a 20 percent "tip" is automatically added with no option to offer more or less. Instead of rewarding good or bad service with money, users are instead asked to rate their driver on a five-star scale. The driver's average rating is displayed on the app as users wait for their cars. Prices for the service are significantly higher than taxicabs and are not fixed. The company employs "surge pricing" when demand is unusually high, such as during periods of inclement weather or holidays.

Current Miami-Dade law regulating town car services, however, makes it nearly impossible for the company to operate here. Cars have to wait an hour after being ordered to arrive and must charge at least $70. Town car and limo services are also licensed in Miami, with the current cap on licenses sitting at 625. After failing to find traction to repeal those laws on the county level, Uber has unleashed an aggressive campaign in the state legislature. It's estimated the company has about 20 lobbyists in Tallahassee.

Feliciano says Uber's entrance into the industry could have disastrous affects by unleashing a new fleet of unregulated cars to compete with taxis.

"These cab drivers now are not only losing because they've got all these unregulated vehicles competing directly with them, but then they're also losing the cream of the crop of the business," he says of Uber's hypothetical entrance in the market. "Fairly said, my cab drivers gotta go pick up a couple 50-, 60-dollar fares in Gables Estates and Kendall to make ends meet. They can't just go pick up a mom who has to go to the laundry and do all the other little jobs."

Many drivers, especially those who own their own cabs and have shelled out for pricey permits, are financially bound to their cabs. They're also mandated to drive passengers anywhere in the city and must abide by fixed prices.


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
57 comments
rudemma
rudemma

Dishonest driver, pulled cheap scam on us. At the end of the trip we left cash by his side and exited cab.

There were $30 in single bills and $5 dollars bill for the fare of $32.00 (my wife and I counted three times the amount). After 10 minutes or so he shows up at restaurant where we were awaiting for our seats with our friends and demands another $10 dollars, stating that we left for him only $20 in singles and $5 dollars bill. We were embarrassed before our friends and dinner was spoiled. Ten dollars don't make a big difference for our budget, but I decided to report this incident to warn future passengers to hand the money and wait until it would be counted by the taxi driver in Miami, Fl.

Erutus Yves, Id 34764. Lic plate 674 WAN. Ser 1263

rudemma
rudemma

Dishonest driver, pulled cheap scam on us. At the end of the trip we left cash by his side and exited cab.

There were $30 in single bills and $5 dollars bill for the fare of $32.00 (my wife and I counted three times the amount). After 10 minutes or so he shows up at restaurant where we were awaiting for our seats with our friends and demands another $10 dollars, stating that we left for him only $20 in singles and $5 dollars bill. We were embarrassed before our friends and dinner was spoiled. Ten dollars don't make a big difference for our budget, but I decided to report this incident to warn future passengers to hand the money and wait until it would be counted by the taxi driver in Miami, Fl.

Erutus Yves, Id 34764. Lic plate 674 WAN. Ser 1263

rudemma
rudemma

Erutus Yves, 34764. Lic plate 674 WAN. Ser 1263. Dishonest driver, pulled cheap scam on us. At the end of the trip we left cash by his side and exited cab.

There were $30 in single bills and $5 dollars bill for the fare of $32.00 (my wife and I counted three times the amount). After 10 minutes or so he shows up at restaurant where we were awaiting for our seats with our friends and demands another $10 dollars, stating that we left for him only $20 in singles and $5 dollars bill. We were embarrassed before our friends and dinner was spoiled. Ten dollars don't make a big difference for our budget, but I decided to report this incident to warn future passengers to hand the money and wait until it would be counted by the taxi driver in Miami, Fl.

gregg110
gregg110

See looks like I need an education in typing and grammar. :) lol!

gregg110
gregg110

Funny I am a native miamian who drove a taxi invested in a town car and am now in paying dearly for working for I uber! Funny how my fellow cab drivers without an education in this country expect to make a killing driving a cab??? Want to earn a great good living learn a trade anyone. Any one can get a D license. Welcome to America fool you need an education and or special skills to get ahead!

Ben_Murk
Ben_Murk

I hope you have a permit for that freedom!!!

best_25107
best_25107

Taxi drivers are Lyft and Uber drivers, too MCT MICHELLE KUMATA / MCTBY RAYMOND FRANCOISNEWVISIONTAXICAB@YAHOO.COM

Complaining about taxis is a Miami sport. Most Miamians have a story about a late or no-show taxi, or about the worn-out and dirty conditions of the cabs themselves, or about our “bad attitude.” But what are the actual conditions for us drivers?

Imagine a job where you have to pay to work; where even when you are not working because of sickness, bad weather or a day off, you still have to pay. The job comes with constant scrutiny, and if you make a small mistake, you might either have to pay more fees or lose your job without future opportunity to work again.

You often experience police harassment and overzealous targeting for tickets and fines at the hands of code enforcement inspectors. The job is among the top 10 lowest-paying, most dangerous jobs in the United States, and includes extremely long hours with no benefits. When you work, you can expect to clean up body fluids, deal with aggressive and inebriated people, and receive constant mistreatment. But you take this job because often it is the only job available to you, and you have a family to feed and bills to pay.

This is our story, as Miami-Dade’s taxi drivers who are not medallion owners — medallions being the prohibitively expensive for-hire license needed to operate a cab. Taxi drivers have to pay from $550 to $750 per week to lease a medallion, depending on whether we own the vehicle. We pay this fee (even if we are unable to work) to taxi companies that own or administer medallions. The majority of drivers do not own medallions. This means no time off unless we want to pay for it. Any small accident or fender-bender can cause the cab company to kick us off its insurance, which means no more job — unless we pay the company $2,000 and fix the car ourselves, as the cab company’s insurance only covers the passenger, not us or our cars.

These same cab companies denounce the illegality of Lyft and Uber, calling for the arrest of their drivers. Yet, stories abound of code violations by taxi companies, including charging drivers extra fees after an accident because they know that drivers are desperate to keep their job. Additionally, cab companies rarely provide drivers with their contracts, despite the code provision that requires otherwise.

New Vision Taxi Drivers Association has been organizing since 2003 for better working conditions for Miami-Dade taxi drivers. Most of us make poverty-level wages, even after working 16-hour days, because of hefty leasing fees. Some of us have started to work as Uber of Lyft drivers as the only way out. When we work with taxi companies, we pay them 80 percent of what we make; when we drive for Uber or Lyft, we keep 80 percent of what we make.

Our association supports legalizing Uber and Lyft in Miami-Dade, while keeping a watchful eye on their treatment of drivers. We would like to see our contracts printed out and carry copies of the insurance policies. These new ride-sharing companies must not follow in the footsteps of taxi companies. Instead, they should commit to implementing standard processes and transparency around driver dismissal and provide clear methods of communicating with company managers.

We want to work, but cannot continue under the exploitative conditions of the taxi system. Many of us who have switched over full-time to Uber or Lyft feel an immense sense of relief that we can work a regular eight-hour day and actually have something to show for it.

These new apps have created options for taxi drivers who have been working ourselves to the bone for the benefit of taxi companies and medallion holders, and offer opportunities for the unemployed and under-employed of Miami-Dade. As our county confronts the inevitable wave of innovation, arresting (or ticketing) taxi drivers or Miami residents is regressive and counterproductive. We believe that Miami-Dade County commissioners can figure out a way to introduce these ride-sharing apps into Miami, and the proposed ordinance by Commissioners Esteban Bovo Jr. and Audrey Edmonson is a start. This system can exist alongside a taxi system and even push that system to improve itself, without punishing those who are at the receiving end of a broken taxi system and a disintegrating economy.


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/21/4246926/taxi-drivers-are-lyft-and-uber.html#storylink=cpy

best_25107
best_25107

As a taxi cab driver, a lot of us like Uber and we want it, Uber will put end to the abuses and corruption of the taxy companies. I'm really fed up with the mistreat of taxi cab drivers, while we are paying $ 400-500 a month for insurance plus the lease we are not covered. I believe in free market, and competition is always a good thing. Weeeee want Uberrrrrrr. Please stop the monopoly.

Mayvilla
Mayvilla

False Excuses That taxi Drivers Do not want Uber We Do Want uber I am a taxi driver!!!!

uber will be better for drivers!!!


The ones who Do not Want Uber is the Taxi Company not the drivers.


Mayvilla24
Mayvilla24

Uber is the best That has happened to miami dade cause of the mafia in the taxi companies and the companies over charge there drivers and make them pay differently every week one week it can be 200 next week 600 wth is that finally a company that will get rid of these awful companies that steal their drivers money.


Thank Uber.

janb600
janb600

Bring it!  The taxis during WMC/MMW and Ultra were charging outrageous flat rates and turning off their meters.  Taxi services in South Florida suck big time!!

Mark Osenga
Mark Osenga

All market pressure to bring adaptation, amazing customer service, amazing apps, fair pricing, knowledgable courteous drivers and clean comfortable cars! Bring it on UBER!!!

Familia Ramirez
Familia Ramirez

Miami has the best weather, scenery and beaches in the world. But unfortunately it's the capital of fraud,greed and corruption. Not to mention some of the worst customer service in the country. Sadly it is what it is. Far from world class.

James Kazakoff
James Kazakoff

Some of the blatant price gouging and outright robbery these taxi drivers were pulling on people that needed a cab during the busy WMC/Ultra weekend was ridiculous. Miami needs Uber, immediately.

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

For the love of Jeebus.  Just another monopoly trying to keep the competition out.  What's this stuff about getting credit card readers when some company will install them for free?  

Cab companies need to catch up to the times.  Uber has a great business model and they need to adapt to it and not fear the competition.  

Keeping Uber out is just straight mafioso type legislative thuggery.   

Sean O'Hanlon
Sean O'Hanlon

I have paid less for luxury car service between LGA and Manhattan than I have for a beat up taxi from downtown to MIA and it's about the same distance for each!

Pau Her Ben
Pau Her Ben

Let the people decide if they want to use cabs or uber services!

Carlos Andres
Carlos Andres

We don't have transportation. What are you talking about?

Darian Faroy
Darian Faroy

This is what happens when businesses and unions are in bed with government.... Let the people/free market decide what's good for our own transportation.

Meg Terilli
Meg Terilli

Taxis here are corrupt and lazy. Instead of offering decent service they just try and squelch any possible competition. I live in downtown and I go out in downtown and the surrounding area. I can NEVER get a cab home because I'm repeatedly turned down because I don't live on the beach. And what's more is that the cabs that have the credit card machines in their cars repeatedly say they are broken whenever you try to pay with one. Bring Uber to Miami and force the taxis to up their service if they want to survive.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

...................from the post i read here, it sounds like the taxi industry is the reason the taxi industry is heading towards its end........too bad but a business model based on screwing tourists and other unsuspecting visitors was never sustainable in the first place

the taxi industry should consider itself luck it got away with its scam for this long

Risky M. Molnar
Risky M. Molnar

And add competition to their lucrative monopoly? Of course they are against it and sure they will hire lobbyist to make sure they keep their monopoly intact.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

...............MIAMI is NOT a world class city - it is very poor and drugs are the major industry but medicaid insurance fraud is a close second with real estate sold to drug kingpins right behind, most residents do NOT speak english and municipal corruption is a major sport

visiting tourists and guests come for the WEATHER = period

i feel bad for the local yokels who will lose out on screwing these visitors to modern clean and efficient methods of transportation that even third-world slums have compared to MIAMI and YES accepting credit cards WAS A significant change here (actually the marielito cab drivers are expecting a brisk identity-theft business)

the real BS is hidden because proper planning would have a modern clean and efficient LIGHT RAIL system from the airport to the cruise ships BUT of course the scum corrupted that (and that would have made MIAMI nearer a world class city)

ralbabustamante
ralbabustamante

From my experience in Washington D.C., Uber is an excellent service. I use it frequently and it is excellent. The drivers always arrive in less than 15 mins, they are well paid, the cars are clean and the drivers are usually professional and polite. It doesn't surprise me that Miami still hasn't caught up to the rest of the nation. That's one of the reasons why I left - Miami is always light years behind in everything. It's like a Banana Republic.  


Protecting the Taxicab Association has no benefits to anyone except the cab drivers - who will continue to provide crappy service. Whose interests do the Legislators have in mind here? The Taxicab Association or consumers? Give consumers choice and let them choose which service is better. Anything else is creating an artificial monopoly that will only hurt average people. 

Not to mention as others have already - that the Taxicab Association was one of the biggest organizations behind the Metrorail not being extended to the airport when it was first built. Let's not let them hurt Miami-Dade residents again... its time they got with the times.

Steve Klare
Steve Klare

of course he does. its competition with better service..

Tyler Loy
Tyler Loy

Miami taxi drivers are the epitome of SCUMBAG

Steph Kriëger
Steph Kriëger

We need it ! Also I feel it might be safer and more effective

dmar1121
dmar1121

does anyone know what this mysterious fly wheel app is that is referenced? it sounds great, cant find it

Christopher Morot-Gaudry
Christopher Morot-Gaudry

I called for a cab once in pinecrest one night, I was told it would take anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours to arrive. It seems the ONLY time a taxi is worth it is when they're near by the bar you're walking out of and need to go a couple blocks too many to the next party. Taxis need to refocus and market themselves as reliable & always around where you need them and not as any type of pre arranged pickup service. Because they're obviously not doing a good job with that

Charles M. LaBow
Charles M. LaBow

The Miami taxi industry, the same bunch of morons that initially killed Metrorail to the airport, the counties largest employer, because it would "hurt their business." Yeah, because everyone knows, workers take cabs to the airport everyday, and travelers with suitcases and pockets full of cash, prefer to take awkward public transportation.

Michael T. Morris
Michael T. Morris

@Ray: THAT'S exactly why they want that one hour delay for Uber and town car services. To cover their asses for how long it takes for a cab to make a pick up. There is ZERO reason to have to wait that long for car service in any city. Let alone a major metro area like South Florida. A mafioso indeed.

Bryan Wiggins
Bryan Wiggins

Of course taxi drivers don't want Uber or Lyft in their cities--it's competition for them.

best_25107
best_25107

@janb600 As a taxi cab driver I do know what you are talking about and I apologize on behalf of taxi drivers who are not thieves. Hope we meet on the Uber side.  

makes_sense
makes_sense

@janb600 bring down cabs from broward & west palm beach to help out and hire more taxi inpectors or give them overtime and all problems solved !

best_25107
best_25107

As a taxi cab driver I do know what you are talking about and I apologize on behalf of taxi drivers who are not thieves, we are not all the same, once again I'm sorry. Hope we meet on the Uber side.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..................."It's like a Banana Republic"...............not "like" it IS one

most people do NOT speak english and the main water sewer system is on the verge of collapse YET until YELLOW WATER comes out of the kitchen taps no one really cares

best_25107
best_25107

Sorry for your bad experience.

Say where you want to go and we will take you there. And stop asking people where they from? how long they been in the state? did they like it here? how do they came here? Pay your fare and you be just fine.Most importantly don't try to be a jerk.

.

drive_safe
drive_safe

@dmar1121 its on google play android store also theres another new app called my taxi driver

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

...............the industry doesn't deny it's incapable - it just fights to protect its turf

its what UNIONs were always accused of doing only here no visitor even needs these services any longer so old scams die hard

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..................the dayz of screwing the tourist are coming to an end and these ancient scams are going down swinging - any other third-world city would invite modern clean and efficient business operations to better the local economy - here it's all about the scam buck

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...