Click here to close now.



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
One of the bewildering things about DevOps is integrating the massive toolchain including the dozens of new tools that seem to crop up every year. Part of DevOps is Continuous Delivery and having a complex toolchain can add additional integration and setup to your developer environment. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Miko Matsumura, Chief Marketing Officer of Gradle Inc., will discuss which tools to use in a developer stack, how to provision the toolchain to minimize onboa...
As someone who has been dedicated to automation and Application Release Automation (ARA) technology for almost six years now, one of the most common questions I get asked regards Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Specifically, people want to know whether release automation is still needed when a PaaS is in place, and why. Isn't that what a PaaS provides? A solution to the deployment and runtime challenges of an application? Why would anyone using a PaaS then need an automation engine with workflow ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
Father business cycles and digital consumers are forcing enterprises to respond faster to customer needs and competitive demands. Successful integration of DevOps and Agile development will be key for business success in today’s digital economy. In his session at DevOps Summit, Pradeep Prabhu, Co-Founder & CEO of Cloudmunch, covered the critical practices that enterprises should consider to seamlessly integrate Agile and DevOps processes, barriers to implementing this in the enterprise, and pr...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
The principles behind DevOps are not new - for decades people have been automating system administration and decreasing the time to deploy apps and perform other management tasks. However, only recently did we see the tools and the will necessary to share the benefits and power of automation with a wider circle of people. In his session at DevOps Summit, Bernard Sanders, Chief Technology Officer at CloudBolt Software, explored the latest tools including Puppet, Chef, Docker, and CMPs needed to...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
In most cases, it is convenient to have some human interaction with a web (micro-)service, no matter how small it is. A traditional approach would be to create an HTTP interface, where user requests will be dispatched and HTML/CSS pages must be served. This approach is indeed very traditional for a web site, but not really convenient for a web service, which is not intended to be good looking, 24x7 up and running and UX-optimized. Instead, talking to a web service in a chat-bot mode would be muc...
It's easy to assume that your app will run on a fast and reliable network. The reality for your app's users, though, is often a slow, unreliable network with spotty coverage. What happens when the network doesn't work, or when the device is in airplane mode? You get unhappy, frustrated users. An offline-first app is an app that works, without error, when there is no network connection.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint Systems, Inc., a provider of innovative web and infrastructure monitoring solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit at 18th Cloud Expo New York, which will take place June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into customer-critical services to help consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed...
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...