Welcome!

News Feed Item

Uber Bill Up for a Vote in Florida House of Representatives - Questions Remain Unanswered

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., April 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- House Bill 1389 is expected to be voted on as a stand-alone bill or an amendment to a larger bill by the Florida House of Representatives.  Dubbed the "Uber Bill," House Bill 1389 seeks to grant Uber Technologies a special state exemption from local vehicle-for-hire rules and regulations - laws that have been crafted, debated, implemented and enforced on the local level by cities and counties throughout Florida for decades.

The Uber Bill was assigned only two committee hearings in the House.  It passed by "one vote margins" in each committee despite bi-partisan opposition.  There have been numerous questions posed to the bill sponsor and Uber directly that have yet to be answered.  In both committee meetings in the House, time expired on public input. 

Uber is seeking to end local governments' ability to regulate luxury vehicles, specifically rules requiring a "minimum fare" for luxury trips.  For decades a minimum fare has been required from luxury operators as the only regulation they must follow, while taxi operators are required to adhere to literally dozens of regulations including an obligation to serve 365 24/7, requirement to charge regulated fares, serve all areas of the community, prohibited from refusing a fare, no ability to "price surge" for peak demand, required to take all forms of payment (not just credit cards), and a requirement to respond to calls for service by phone (not just smart phone apps), among other regulations.

Testimony from Uber has proven the company wants to operate like a taxi for "fill in" fares when luxury business is slow or the taxi business is brisk, but do not want to be required to adhere to all regulations taxis must follow each and every day, nor minimum luxury fare regulations.

"Uber's model is to serve who they want, when they want, where they want and charge what they want with no interference by any regulations whatsoever," said Roger Chapin, an executive with Mears Transportation and Florida Taxicab Association Board member.  "They can do that today, provided they follow the one rule in place for luxury operators – a minimum fare – that has existed for decades without controversy and is designed to prohibit precisely Uber's business model, which is to cherry pick taxi fares when it suits them, and not follow taxi regulations when it doesn't."

In an earlier committee meeting, State Representative Frank Artiles (R - Miami) sought assurances for consumer protection from the Uber bill.  "Miami Dade does have regulations in place," he stated. "I have serious concerns regarding this bill.  Rate increases, surge pricing, rate protection, insurance coverage, surplus lines.  At this time I will support this bill, however, there is another stop, and I expect for this to be fixed, and if not, I will vote it down at the next stop." 

State Representative and Chairman of House Economic Affairs Committee Jimmy Patronis (R - Panama City) asked bluntly, "Is surge pricing legal?" in reference to Uber's practice of increasing fares on passengers without warning for inclement weather or special events.

"If Uber puts these other car companies out of business, what will my senior citizens do for a ride?" asked State Representative Irving Slosberg (D - Delray Beach) referencing the fact that Uber does not provide ADA service, underserves the elderly and denies service to socioeconomically or otherwise disadvantaged individuals.

State Representative Mark Danish (D - Tampa) stated, "After listening to both sides I found out the gray area is huge.  We need to put a pause button on this," then questioned, "Do we want a bill about a local issue on the floor of the House?"

Adding more trepidation pertaining to the lack of insurance and licensing, Uber is already advertising for driver positions in several cities across Florida for its "UberX" product, a service that encourages for-hire commercial transportation of passengers by non-licensed, uninsured every day drivers.  State Representative Ed Hooper (R - Clearwater) asked, "Is a chauffeur-driven limo required to have specific class of commercial driver's license or just a regular driver's license?"   (Click here to see Judge ruling to stop ridesharing practice in St. Louis)

"Uber wants to have it both ways," said Louie Minardi, President of the Florida Taxicab Association and Yellow Cab owner in Tampa.  "They want to operate exactly like a taxi when there are good fares, but not provide service or follow the rules all other taxis must follow when times are slower."

Taxis are highly regulated in most every community they serve.  They are prohibited from denying service to any consumer.  In the City of Orlando for example, Chapter 55 (Sec. 55.31 "Driver Obligations") in local ordinance states:  "No taxicab driver shall refuse any request for transportation from any orderly passenger where the destination of the trip is within the Tri-County Area."

The Florida Taxicab Association recently released a poll showing Uber's practice of only serving customers with "smart phones" and credit cards, leaves out roughly 50% of the public. 

According to University of Central Florida Professor and PHD James Wright, "UBER-ineligible Floridians are disproportionately Hispanic (59%) and African American (55%), low income (70% not eligible among those earning less than 25K per year vs. 26% in the highest income group), and the elderly (64% not eligible among those 65 and older)."

Uber has also come under fire nationally for their practice of rating passengers.  In testimony, the Uber bill sponsor, State Representative James Grant (R-Tampa), revealed to lawmakers that Uber rates passengers and the Uber "driver has the ability to see ratings of you."  His testimony continued that Uber could then decide "if you are somebody" they may "reject service to" in the future.  (Source:  Florida House of Representatives, Transportation & Highway Safety Subcommittee – March 24, 2014)

"Why else would Uber 'rate' a passenger except to deny them service in the future?" asked Mr. Minardi.  "Taxis in Florida and throughout the nation are expressly prohibited by local regulations from denying anyone service."

"Allowing Uber to operate without any regulation, then 'rate passengers' to ultimately deny them service in the future, takes us back to a dark place in history," added Chapin.  "How do they rate poor tippers, an elderly person who requires more assistance, someone who regularly needs a short trip to the doctor or someone whom the driver may just not like the way they look?"

SOURCE Florida Taxicab Association

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Systena America will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Systena Group has been in business for various software development and verification in Japan, US, ASEAN, and China by utilizing the knowledge we gained from all types of device development for various industries including smartphones (Android/iOS), wireless communication, security technology and IoT serv...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory?
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Carbonite will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Carbonite protects your entire IT footprint with the right level of protection for each workload, ensuring lower costs and dependable solutions with DoubleTake and Evault.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi LTD., will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City. Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) will be featuring the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) portfolio. This is the industry’s only offering that allows organizations to bring together object storage, file sync and share, cloud storage gateways, and sophisticated search and...