Marco Rubio visiting Uber to discuss removing barriers to innovation

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U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio wants to cut through red tape to allow the development of modern transportation options like the innovative on-demand luxury car service Uber.

Rubio visits Uber’s Washington D.C. headquarters this afternoon as part of a discussion on the need for Florida cities to streamline government regulations to increase economic opportunities for the 21st Century.

Filling the gap between traditional taxi and limousine service, Uber allows drivers to bid on available trips and have passengers pay for a ride with a credit card.

Uber uses a smartphone app as a digital dispatcher to connect passengers with luxury-car drivers. It is facing regulatory challenges in cities like Miami, where city commissions have been reluctant to modify laws regulating taxi companies.

Miami-Dade commissioners recently declined to support legislation to remove the cap on luxury-car permits and to adjust minimum fares to be in line with taxicabs, as well as eliminating the need to pre-arrange rides at least one hour in advance.

Uber has experienced tremendous growth in the U.S. and internationally. It already operates in 31 cities, including Jacksonville, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. The company has been lobbying Miami-Dade for several years to remove regulatory barriers so the San Francisco-based company can start servicing customers.

At the same time as Rubio’s Uber visit, the Legislature is looking at a bill that would have the state take over regulation of limousines and chauffeured transportation, essentially paving the way for Uber to operate in cities like Miami and Tampa.

The event begins 1:30 p.m. today in the Uber offices at 1875 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.