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Ridesharing smoothing the roads in Florida

in Peter by

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber; it’s also no secret that I am NOT a big fan of the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission, a bully of a governmental entity applying 19th-century thinking to a 21st-century innovation. The PTC’s blatant quest to stifle ridesharing while clinging to the outmoded taxi and limo industry has been as disgraceful as it is misguided. This should be the final nail in the coffin of…

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Ridesharing bills could pave the way for transformational changes

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

On the same day an Uber- and Lyft-friendly ridesharing bill passed its first committee stop in the Florida House, state Sen. Jeff Brandes was presenting his vision of where he believes the transportation industry is headed. “We’re in a generational shift from the horse and buggy to the Model-T,” Brandes said Wednesday evening at the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee. The St. Petersburg Republican was the main presenter at a public event focusing on emerging transportation technologies. He’s also sponsoring…

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House advances bill for statewide ride-sharing regulations

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

A Florida House committee advanced a bill Wednesday to implement statewide regulations on ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft. Sponsored by Republicans Chris Sprowls of Palm Harbor and Jamie Grant of Tampa, HB 221 addresses issues that have been vexing state lawmakers for the last three Sessions. If passed, drivers would need to carry insurance coverage worth $50,000 for death and bodily injury per person, $100,000 for death and bodily injury per incident and $25,000 for property damage when picking up passengers. Coverage would…

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Super Bowl serves at peacemaker between Uber and Houston

in Sports/Top Headlines by

Anybody using Uber in Houston during Super Bowl week can thank the big game for their ride. Up until a couple of months ago, it was unclear if the popular ride-hailing service would be helping shuttle many of the more than 1 million people expected to take part in Super Bowl-related activities in the host city. Uber had threatened to leave Houston ahead of the festivities, insisting various city regulations, including fingerprint background checks of drivers, were too burdensome and…

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Joe Henderson: Uber, Lyft here to stay – time to level the playing field with taxis

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

I have spent a lot of words arguing that Tampa and Hillsborough County should welcome the ride-share companies Uber and Lyft instead of fighting to preserve a monopoly that has been enjoyed by traditional cab companies. I still feel that way. However, if Uber and Lyft are allowed to operate the way they want, taxi companies should have a greater latitude to do the same – lest the free market put them out of business. That led to an exchange…

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Fla. court says Uber drivers are independent contractors, not employees

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

A Florida appellate court has ruled that a former Uber driver isn’t entitled to unemployment benefits because he was an independent contractor, not an employee. A unanimous three-judge panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Miami ruled Wednesday for the Department of Economic Opportunity, the state’s jobs agency, against Darrin E. McGillis. The ruling is another win for the San Francisco-based ridebooking service, which is fighting a multi-state legal battle not to be considered an employer so it…

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Uber ‘pirates up’ for Gasparilla with new rules for no-hassle, safe experience

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

On Saturday, thousands of pirates (and pirate wannabes) will descend on the shores of Tampa Bay for the annual Gasparilla spectacle. And as Uber knows, as does anyone who has ever attended the city’s premiere pirate-themed event, neighborhood roads will be just short of impassable. To help make traveling to and from the event as smooth as possible, Uber is setting some simple ground rules to take some hassle out of the ridesharing experience. “Due to the extensive road closures…

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