To most Floridians, prior to the 2014 Legislative Session, “uber” was a throwback term meaning “excessively” or “the ultimate”, and almost always said while channeling some ghost of Keanu Reeves’ past.
But to those in Florida’s political process, and to the general public who bothered to pick up nearly any newspaper at least once during session, Uber is known as the innovative, stylish, high-tech transportation outfit, struggling against the goliath of taxi moguls to gain a foothold in Florida.
No, Uber didn’t win this year. At least not in the sense of having a bill carve out its own regulatory home in the state.
Instead, Uber won because it became known, garnered some substantial support, and didn’t give up in the face of strong pushback by Mears Transportation and other taxi allies. Sen. Jeff Brandes and Rep. Jamie Grant were champions for the issue to the end, and no doubt, will continue their efforts to bring more transportation options to Tampa Bay, Miami, and beyond.
Kudos to the two PR shops — Mercury and On 3 Public Relations — hired to build support for Uber’s dogged pursuit of regulatory freedom.
Uber’s 2014 win was that it got in place, rallied troops, and made big waves. That’s more than most groups can garner in the first year of advocacy, and means there’s a lot more to come.