In the last fundraising report before Election Day, Hillsborough County Commission District 6 candidate Pat Kemp lists two $1,000 contributions from the taxicab industry: $1,000 from Yellow Cab Company of Tampa, and $1,000 from Gulf Coast Transportation. Her GOP opponent, Tim Schock, has a problem with that.
“I’m appalled at what I just read,” Schock says in a video posted Saturday night, referring to looking over Kemp’s latest financial filing. “In doing so, she has shown her disdain for future transportation options like Uber and Lyft.”
Those two ridesharing companies have been deemed to be operating illegally in Hillsborough County by the Public Transportation Agency since April of 2014, when they entered the local market. They’ve also been sharply opposed by the taxicab and limousine industry, who say that they have continued to flout the rules since they began their operations here.
Recent revelations that Hillsborough PTC executive director Kyle Cockream used off-duty taxicab drivers in PTC ridesharing stings and made unauthorized trips to speak to the Palm Beach County Commission with officials of the cab and limo industry have roiled the agency, causing PTC Chairman Victor Crist to call last month for Cockream to be put on paid leave until the disclosures could be investigated. That proposal was voted down by his colleagues on the board.
In his video, Schock says “taxicab companies don’t want competition and they’ve gone to great lengths to stop ridesharing options,” and that’s why he would never accept any contributions from the industry.
Officials from the industry have said that they don’t fear the competition that Uber and Lyft have brought to the region, but maintain that they want to compete on a level playing field.
The two ridesharing companies have been enormously popular in Hillsborough County, and more local politicians have spoken out in favor of their continuing operations in the country, while often criticizing the PTC.
Other than those two contributions, the only obvious previous contribution that Kemp has received from the industry was a $1,000 contribution from Louis Betz, a lobbyist for the Tampa TaxiCoalition.
Kemp did not return a request for comment.