UberX Will Launch in Miami Today, Defying Miami-Dade's Taxi Laws
After months of fruitless lobbying in Miami-Dade County and Tallahassee to change taxi laws in South Florida, app-based ride service Uber has decided to go the route of ride-sharing competitor Lyft and just ignore the regulations. Uber's own ride-sharing service, UberX, is launching in Miami today, braving mass fines and legal blowback from the county.
Courtesy of Uber
Beginning at noon, Miami riders will be able to request rides through their smartphones from Uber.
Uber's spokespeople confirmed this morning that starting today the company will offer free rides until June 20 to test-drive and promote the service in Dade County.
The move comes just two weeks after Lyft, a peer-to-peer ride-sharing service also based on a mobile app, set up shop in Miami despite running afoul of regulations.
Dade's taxi laws effectively ban both companies from operating legally; privately hired cars are supposed to wait an hour before pickup and charge at least $70 per ride. It's a law backed by the taxi union, which claims services such as Uber and Lyft would wreck their business.
Lyft, which uses prescreened, nonprofessional drivers who operate on a "suggested donation model," has already seen its drivers nailed with 11 fines totaling $22,000 by county regulators, the Miami Herald reports.
Uber's main business model is slightly different. Its drivers own their own black luxury cars, and riders agree to pay a set price determined by traffic and demand.
That service is not yet launching in Miami; instead, UberX -- which operates more like Lyft with a peer-to-peer network of drivers -- will set up shop.