Update as of November 10:
Among the regulations:
The Hillsborough public Transportation Commission and Uber and Lyft have come to an agreement to establish a regulatory framework for the ridesharing services to continue operating in Tampa. The agreement adheres to the following regulations according to ABC:
-Uber will have to pay $250,000 to operate in Hillsborough County. Lyft will pay $125,000.
-Drivers will have to carry applicable insurance required by state law
-Vehicles cannot be older than 10 years for new drivers. Current driver vehicles can be up to 12 years old
-Vehicles will be subjected to a 21-point inspection
-Drivers cannot refuse service to disabled passengers or charge those passengers higher fares
-Passengers must be made aware of any surge pricing that is in effect. Surge pricing will not be allowed during declared states of emergency.
-Uber and Lyft will be subjected to semi-annual audits
-Any violation of these policies can result in a $2500 penalty for a first offense, and $5000 fine for a second violation
-The companies must establish a 24/7 hotline for rider concerns
-New ride share drivers will have a 21 day grace period to comply with the regulations. Existing drivers will have 42 days.
-Checks must be completed before a driver can start working
-Drivers have to pass a level one plus check which includes a multi-state/multi-jurisdiction criminal records report going back seven years. Their name will also be run through a federal court records search, state and national sex offender databases, the FBI most wanted list, the Interpol most wanted list, the DEA most wanted list, and the OPAC most wanted list.
This temporary agreement with Uber and Lyft will run through December 31, 2017. All sides involved are hoping the Florida legislature will pass state laws to regulate the ride-sharing industry, overtaking this temporary arrangement.
The only way you haven’t heard about companies such as Uber and Lyft is if you live under a rock. But, if it so happens you fit that description, Uber and Lyft are “ridesharing services” that operate in hundreds of cities across the world. These ridesharing services work on an app. The person in need of a ride input their location and a driver is notified and sent to them. The rider can see exactly where the car is on a GPS map. They can also read reviews of their driver from their previous passengers.
These services are especially popular with millennials who use Uber and Lyft to avoid driving on a night out. They deem it easier to use than a taxi because of the app and the fact that there is no payment transaction in the car. It is all done on the app where your credit card information is stored.
However the Hillsborough Public Transportation Commission has pushed hard for increased regulations on Uber and Lyft. Back in September, the PTC board voted to move ahead with regulations that mandate fingerprinting for drivers, annual car inspections, a ban on price surging during state of emergencies, and a 10-year age limit on cars. Similar restrictions caused two rideshare market leaders to stop operating in Austin, Texas back in May.
Uber and Lyft are continuing to operate in Tampa for now. They reached an agreement at the end of last month with the PTC. Uber and Lyft agreed to a 15-month temporary operating agreement. This includes according to Fox 13 News, “a thorough screening process for drivers transporting passengers, auto liability insurance requirements, steep licensure fees, and vehicle age and inspection provisions. Under the agreement, background checks must be done on drivers, and all cars must display the company decal while operating. The background checks will include checks of Federal Court, FBI, Interpol, and state sex offender records. However, this does not include the fingerprint requirement.”
Uber will also pay a $250,000 licensure fee and Lyft will pay a $150,000 fee to the Hillsborough PTC.
This agreement was supposed to be voted on, on October 13, however is postponed until November 9. Uber is threatening to pull out of Hillsborough County if the agreement is not passed.
While this is all going on Uber and Lyft are accusing the PTC of being involved with the taxicab and limo-rental industries, working with them to block ridesharing in court and ticketing ridesharing drivers. According to the Tampa Bay Times, there is now some internal PT emails that suggests evidence to support this claim.
“Sting operations conducted by the PTC in May to fine rideshare drivers were coordinated with local taxicab and limousine firms that were invited to attend, records show.
The collaboration didn’t end there.
The taxi and limo firms — which the PTC is supposed to regulate — were active participants in the stings. They provided the pretend “passengers” who used smartphone apps to lure Uber and Lyft drivers to locations where PTC enforcement officers were waiting to dole out $700 fines.
Their involvement took place with the full knowledge of PTC executive director Kyle Cockream, the emails show.”
Read the rest of that story here.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn and many other Tampa officials want to see the end of the Public Transportation Commission as according to him, they are stifling innovation. Buckhorn said, “I continue to believe that [the PTC] is a dinosaur in a society that doesn’t lend itself to dinosaurs anymore. Dinosaurs become extinct,” said Buckhorn. “The PTC should be extinct.”
We will update this story about Uber and Lyft in Tampa, following the November 9 decision.
Injured in a car accident? Call Attorney Mike Hancock with Hancock Injury Attorneys at 813.915.1110 for a free consultation.