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
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. Commvault can ensure protection, access and E-Discovery of your data – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise. In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist - Windows Products and Microsoft Part...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Tintri VM-aware storage is the simplest for virtualized applications and cloud. Organizations including GE, Toyota, United Healthcare, NASA and 6 of the Fortune 15 have said “No to LUNs.” With Tintri they mana...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, provided tips on how to be successful in large scale machine learning...
Digitization is driving a fundamental change in society that is transforming the way businesses work with their customers, their supply chains and their people. Digital transformation leverages DevOps best practices, such as Agile Parallel Development, Continuous Delivery and Agile Operations to capitalize on opportunities and create competitive differentiation in the application economy. However, information security has been notably absent from the DevOps movement. Speed doesn’t have to negat...
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, will compare the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, e...
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
Your business relies on your applications and your employees to stay in business. Whether you develop apps or manage business critical apps that help fuel your business, what happens when users experience sluggish performance? You and all technical teams across the organization – application, network, operations, among others, as well as, those outside the organization, like ISPs and third-party providers – are called in to solve the problem.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Roundee / LinearHub will exhibit at the WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LinearHub provides Roundee Service, a smart platform for enterprise video conferencing with enhanced features such as automatic recording and transcription service. Slack users can integrate Roundee to their team via Slack’s App Directory, and '/roundee' command lets your video conference ...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Digital transformation is too big and important for our future success to not understand the rules that apply to it. The first three rules for winning in this age of hyper-digital transformation are: Advantages in speed, analytics and operational tempos must be captured by implementing an optimized information logistics system (OILS) Real-time operational tempos (IT, people and business processes) must be achieved Businesses that can "analyze data and act and with speed" will dominate those t...