A subcommittee with the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission has forwarded a recommended package of new rules for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft — which neither company wants.
The proposed rules would include the following stipulations for Transportation Network Companies:
- Background checks: Level II background checks, including fingerprinting
- Insurance coverage: As required by current state law
- Required wait time: 7 minutes
- Required minimum fare: $7
The Rules & Policy Committee of the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission on Tuesday voted 2-1 to forward the proposal to the entire PTC board to vote on next week. Temple Terrace City Councilman David Pogorilich and Plant City Commissioner Nate Kilton voted yes, while Tampa City Councilman Guido Maniscalco voted no.
Once rules are agreed upon by the PTC board, they will be scheduled for a public hearing to be held in October. PTC officials say anyone who would like to be heard on the rules will have the opportunity to do so at the public hearing.
“Our goal in creating these rules is to establish a framework that protects the riding public,” said Kyle Cockream, executive director of the PTC, in a statement. “Just as we focus on getting rogue taxi drivers off the road and helping drivers who’ve been towed illegally, our goal here is to provide the safest transportation experience possible for Hillsborough County residents.”
Officials from Uber and Lyft have said the passage of these new rules, specifically the Level II background checks for their drivers, which includes fingerprinting them, could be a deal breaker.
“We are not trying to keep anyone out of the marketplace,” Cockream insisted. “Instead, the focus is on getting consensus on regulations that ensure rider safety. We want to have a safe and solid framework that is not geared towards any one company, but rather welcomes all TNCs while making the safety of our riding public a priority. That is our goal.”
“The rules being considered by the PTC place unnecessarily burdensome requirements on individual drivers and fundamentally misunderstand how ridesharing works,” says Lyft spokesman Herbie Thiele. However, he emphasizes this is the first step in a lengthy process, which includes requesting a state administrative review.
“That is a lengthy process and Lyft will continue serving people in Hillsborough County during that time,” he said.
Late last week a spokesman for Uber also blasted the new proposals.
“The rules being proposed by the PTC, if adopted, would be the worst regulatory framework for ridesharing in the country,” Uber spokesman Javi Correoso said last Thursday night. “For more than two years, the Hillsborough County PTC has shown itself to be unwilling or incapable of developing the modern regulatory framework for ridesharing that the community they represent deserves. The PTC seems intent to continue a dysfunctional process of picking winners and losers rather than follow the lead of policymakers in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, the cities of Tallahassee and Gainesville, and 29 states across the country that have passed sensible ridesharing laws.”
The PTC’s regular board meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 9 a.m. at the County Center, 601 East Kennedy Blvd., 2nd floor in Tampa.