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PSTA to expand Direct Connect program, Uber rides to bus stops

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Need a ride to the bus stop? Hail an Uber from anywhere in the county to a PSTA bus stop and PSTA will pick up the tab. That’s the gist of the Direct Connect program created by the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority to solve the problem of the so-called first mile/last mile obstacle to the use of public transportation. Agency officials say the public-private partnership is the first in the country to solve that problem. At issue is the rider’s…

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Rick Kriseman will seek to deregulate the city’s taxi cabs

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The announcement came toward the end of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman’s state of the city address Saturday: The next ordinance Kriseman plans to introduce is one deregulating the vehicle-for-hire industry. Kriseman did not provide many details except to say it would include incentives for taxi companies and ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft to comply with St. Petersburg’s system. Let the market decide what’s best, Kriseman said, adding that, if his plan succeeds then St. Petersburg would be a…

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Legislation covering Uber, Lyft filed for 2017

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Online car services such as Uber and Lyft got a preliminary win in Florida after favorable legislation was filed Wednesday in the Legislature. The bills (SB 340 and HB 221), which would apply to ridebooking companies like Uber and Lyft, combine parts of previous measures that have been introduced but not passed over the last few years. Still, “transportation network companies,” or TNCs, pretty much got what they wanted, including a provision for driver background checks that don’t require fingerprints, which are more expensive…

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Pam Bondi announces website to spread awareness of human trafficking in Florida

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Since beginning her tenure as Attorney General six years ago, Pam Bondi has made the combating of human trafficking in the state one of her signature issues. Appearing at Tampa International Airport on Friday morning, Bondi announced the partnership with the airport to encourage travelers to spot human trafficking and report suspicious activity. They can do so by going to a new website, YouCanStopHT.com. “Thousands of people walk through our airport every single day,” Bondi said. “Partnering with the airport gives us a unique opportunity to spread…

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Upon second thought, City of St. Pete defers vote to regulate Uber and Lyft

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Just as how the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes that day, officials at St. Petersburg’s City Hall are deferring taking any regulatory action against ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft. City Councilmember Darden Rice told Janelle Irwin of the Tampa Bay Business Journal that all parties involved “are ever closer to an agreement to present to Council that is fair to the taxi companies and does not encumber rideshare companies with burdensome regulations and fees.” After Uber objected to a proposal to tax…

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Uber tips for safe New Year’s Eve

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Planning on being a responsible little partyer this New Year’s Eve? Uber has some tips for making sure your safe ride home goes as smoothly as possible. First of all, New Year’s Eve is probably the busiest night of the year for taxi companies and Uber. The busiest times, Uber estimates, are earlier in the evening as people are catching rides to their destination between about 8 and 10 p.m. Traffic really picks up between 12:30 and about 3 a.m.…

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As 2016 closes, Hillsborough’s transportation problems still mostly unsolved

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Another year of our lives is about to become history, and that means another year where little tangible was accomplished in terms of addressing the transportation needs of the citizenry in Hillsborough County. But a whole lot of people did get angry with each other over the process, anyway. At this time a year ago, the biggest concern was: What would come out of the Hillsborough County Sheriff Department’s investigation into Go Hillsborough, the two-years-in-the-making transportation plan that called for a 30-year,…

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