Meet the Cab Drivers Who Want Uber and Lyft in Miami

Categories: News, Road Rage

uberpressshot.jpg
Courtesy of Uber
In the months since Uber and Lyft have set up shop in Miami and sparked a war of fines and impounded cars with the county commission, the battle lines have seemed fairly obvious. Commissioners -- backed by a powerful union of cab owners and medallion-holders -- oppose changing regulations to let in the app-based ride-sharing companies in. Taxi owners have lined up at commission meetings to argue that Uber and Lyft would put a stranglehold on their highly regulated and taxed industry.

But that doesn't mean all cab drivers feel the same. The New Vision Taxi Drivers Association of Miami, a group of 1,200 cabbies, has taken an official stance in favor of Uber and Lyft. Its president tells Riptide his members believe the competition would help everyone.

See also: Uber Car Service App Versus Miami Taxis

The association, which has been around since 2003, is advocating for ride-sharing apps as an opportunity to force improved regulations in the taxi industry.

"With Uber in Miami, taxi companies will have to change," Raymond François, the association's chairman, says. "Customers and drivers will go toward wherever the best service is."

François, a cab driver for the past 17 years, has seen the industry remain relatively unchanged during his time. Ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft have the power to shake up the system in a good way, he says.

That's the exact opposite of the view taken by the South Florida Taxi Association, which has openly opposed the service and claimed it could take away the taxis' highest-paying customers. That association, made up of cab owners, has been concerned about the county granting Uber and Lyft the right to run virtually unregulated.

"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," Diego Feliciano, president of the association, told Riptide in April.

Last week, the county commission gave initial approval to a proposal that would legalize ride-for-hire companies, but the measure will likely face stiff resistance when it comes up again in September. The transportation and aviation committee, which considers the motion next, has deadlocked in the past, meaning Uber and Lyft still have a long way to go before legalization.

Right now, Miami-Dade law regulating town-car services has barred Uber and Lyft from running legally in the county. These current laws, favoring taxi companies, require that customers order the car an hour in advance and pay a minimum $70. Licensing for town cars also has a cap at 625 cars, making it competitive to obtain the proper permits.

François and his drivers' union, though, say the regulatory laws that are in place favor taxi companies and medallion-holders at the expense of regular cabbies. He also said that while Uber-like apps could have potentially negative effects for the taxi companies, it isn't accurate to say the same for drivers.

"The county wants to keep Uber out to please the taxi companies that give commissioners money, but that doesn't mean it's what's best for the taxi drivers," François said. "We need something as big as Uber to affect the taxi system."

With Uber as a competitor, François says, taxi companies will have to improve their services by offering better technology and more regulations on the number of drivers who can work.

Otherwise, cab drivers will just start making the switch to working for Uber and Lyft. Drivers currently give about 80 percent of their earnings to taxi companies, according to François, while Uber drivers give about 20 percent.

Each week, taxi drivers pay $550 to $750 to work for taxi companies and medallion owners. Drivers are also forced to pay those fees in advance if they are sick or have vacation planned. Otherwise, their job is not guaranteed for the following week. As for insurance, taxi companies cover only passengers, leaving drivers and their cars without any coverage.

With Uber, drivers pay the company only when they are working. The company also offers drivers and their cars full commercial insurance coverage from the moment they turn on their app and accept to give a ride.

"You can't squeeze the drivers and expect drivers to be happy with the customer service," François said. "Maybe with Uber as competition, the county and taxi companies will remember that drivers deserve to be treated as residents too."

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37 comments
samueljackson864
samueljackson864 topcommenter

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mariocorrea
mariocorrea

Taxi drivers are blamed all over the world. We have herard it all, they do not speak english, they dont like short rides car smells old car no knowledge of the city etc etc etc. BUT if you are involved in an accident in a taxicab you are covered by the required commercial insurance 24 hours a day. Also your driver wil not be a rapist, thief, killer etc, also your driver holds a clean driving record. The taxicab industry is REGULATED by the county. Most cabs in dade county now have  credit card systems, apps, GPS, so that idea that taxicabs in dade county are old and do not have the technology that this gods that came from outer space  have is a big LIE. 

Also everybody shares the bad experiences they had with cab drivers, never the good ones.

Competition is always welcome, it does help improve the transportation industry BUT, it has to be fair competition complying with all the regulations required by the law. UBER is not ready to comply with those regulations and will never be.

Charli197
Charli197

Lyft is great! Ride for free

1. Download the app
2. Enter code LOSANGELES (works nationwide)
3. Request and enjoy your free ride
4. Repeat on another phone to ride again free

Amy Rodriguez
Amy Rodriguez

I agree, taxi drivers can be rude and unprofessional.

Outraged
Outraged

Get your first ride with Lyft for FREE, Miami, up to $25! Go to www.lyft.com or the App Store, download the Lyft app on your smartphone, and enter promo code Y2D9C4 before taking your first FREE lyft!

Scott Mayaudon
Scott Mayaudon

Next on the chopping block overpriced valet services and parking, yes Im addressing pk1

Scott Mayaudon
Scott Mayaudon

Miami cab service has allways sucked. Yes we do have a choice its called competition,technology with an app.

James G. Camp
James G. Camp

Both are not solutions, because the ride for hire app services won't offer what the cabs do for insurance and so on. Those on that are people lokking to get around any legal rewuirements a cab company has to abide by. And that's not giving cab companies a bye either. They are just only a little bit better than the app drivers.

Jannet Enriquez
Jannet Enriquez

It won't change them. They haven't changed in other cities that already have Uber. Cab drivers are actually protesting.

Michelle Muller
Michelle Muller

Bout damn time. The cab companies have no accountability. You know something is wrong when you wait 3 hours for a cab, it never shows up and the company offers zero apologies/has no accountability. I love lyft and have had great experiences with uber in other cities.

Michael Fiorellino
Michael Fiorellino

After the past 2 ugly experiences I've had with Miami taxis this is welcome news.

Tony Prieto
Tony Prieto

Oh, you mean you can't be rude and drive like an asshole anymore?

Robyn Paula
Robyn Paula

Miami cabs definitely need better customer service. If they were smart, they'd create their own app that lets riders request a cab and know time of arrival. AND, the beach cabbies have to stop whining about distances they think are too short.

lizmillerxc
lizmillerxc

Taxi companies protesting against Uber is akin to telegraph companies protesting against email. Evolve or perish. Go to http://www.lyftvsuber.com/ to try out Uber or Lyft for yourself! The website compares the two most popular ride-sharing services. $30, $25 of FREE ride credit for new passengers and up to $500 sign-up BONUS for new drivers!! Drivers can make as much as $40/hr! Hope you can see what all the hype is about :) Thanks!!


YDelgado
YDelgado

@mariocorrea NEVER have I EVER had a good experience with Taxi drivers in Miami. They drive like SHIT, they don't follow road rules, they're fucking RUDE, and to top it off, they're complete ASS HOLES. 


All they are is a bunch of whining bitches because they can't handle competition. Quit bitching. Maybe if the service wasn't such shit and a rip off, there wouldn't be a need to stress about it. It's 2014, not 2003. Times change, and people get tired of being ripped off.

YDelgado
YDelgado

All I've been hearing is the insurance. Additional to personal insurance, you have to pay for the company's as well. Not to mention, you pay your own gas and mileage. The only reason why taxi companies are pissed off is because they now realize how they've been fucking people over for the last 11 years.

YDelgado
YDelgado

Taxi companies are too cheap to pay their drivers by the hour.

pepe3430
pepe3430

send your kids with an illegal uber driver and have a taste. these fucks are off the grid and intend to stay there anybody can drive no insurance send your kids this is the wild west please go back to where you are from and enjoy life there but do not bring that crap here. This is a civilized country. either you like it or not we have rules and regulations that have to follow UBER AND LYFT do not want to be ruled, capisci?????? 

pepe3430
pepe3430

uber and lyft are in the cloud, they are not transportation companies they don t give a fuck about you or me. . these fucks do not carry commercial inurance because they dont want to pay for it. they do not screen drivers either they do not give a shit whos behind the wheel. Taxi companies are pissed off because they obey the county rules and pay for it and these gangsters show up from nowhere thinking they have the solution. I have no problem with these gangsters if they play by the rules. Would you fly in an airline that the pilot was not screened??? there is a higher risk to die in an automobile crash than in an airplane if you think you are smart do the math would you eat the crap of the cab driver nasty and dirty as you state or go in a vehicle that carries no insurance and being driven by a maniac that could be high in heroin? you will probably take the chance but would you send your children taking such a risk? enjoy uber and lyft until you make up your mind it is just a matter of time...........

pepe3430
pepe3430

uber and lyft are in the cloud, they are not transportation companies they don t give a fuck about you or me. . these fucks do not carry commercial inurance because they dont want to pay for it. they do not screen drivers either they do not give a shit whos behind the wheel. Taxi companies are pissed off because they obey the county rules and pay for it and these gangsters show up from nowhere thinking they have the solution. I have no problem with these gangsters if they play by the rules. Would you fly in an airline that the pilot was not screened??? there is a higher risk to die in an automobile crash than in an airplane if you think you are smart do the math would you eat the crap of the cab driver nasty and dirty as you state or go in a vehicle that carries no insurance and being driven by a maniac that could be high in heroin? you will probably take the chance but would you send your children taking such a risk? enjoy uber and lyft until you make up your mind it is just a matter of time...........

YDelgado
YDelgado

@pepe3430 And I'm assuming you think our government cares about us as well? Quit being an ignorant tool.

pepe3430
pepe3430

PEOPLE USE YOUR BRAINS a company comes out of nowhere running over everybody they do not follow any rules or regulations they have no insurance and you like them because you pay a few bucks less ????or you do not like taxi drivers?? who likes taxi drivers?? tell me....do you know anybody who likes taxi drivers anywhere in the world?? what a fuck is  wrong with you people????? do you know what consequences mean???? if you have an accident in an illegal UBER car you will be fried. where are you going to cry to???? if you want a country without rules leave USA

You rather put up with the lovely taxi drivers than being in a wheelchair because you chose to ride with UBER. 

ask the cubs they had batista that was bad and nasty they changed and now they are enjoying la dolce vita with castro...............

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