The Florida Taxicab Association issued another broadside against Uber on Tuesday, this time focusing on a new University of South Florida-Nielsen poll that suggests most Floridians are in favor of legal restrictions on so-called transportation network companies.
According to the new poll released Tuesday, 89 percent of Floridians believe ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft “should be required to have liability insurance as is required by current state law.”
The level of insurance TNCs must carry has been a major sticking point between them and both Florida municipalities and the state Senate.
The survey also found that 68 percent of respondents supported “requiring Uber to be licensed, just like taxis, while 19 percent oppose,” the remainder having no opinion.
The notion that TNCs should be regulated in the same manner as taxi cab and limousine companies has been a nonstarter for the Uber camp, which staged a full-scale exit from Broward County over the summer on just such a basis.
Uber and the Broward Commission are back in negotiations to craft a TNCs regime acceptable to both parties; Tuesday will see a vote in the commission on whether to loosen an ordinance that sent Uber packing on July 31, arguing it contained onerous requirements — like fingerprinting for all new hires and a prohibition against former felons driving for TNCs — that its business model could not brook.
A press release from the taxicab industry group emphasized the criminal element, so to speak, of Uber’s objections to the Broward rules.
“Uber needs drivers,” said Roger Chapin, owner of taxi-and-limo giant Mears Transportation in Orlando. “Even bad ones with serious criminal pasts and unsafe driving records. They will resist even the slightest bit of oversight, especially as it relates to ‘what kinds of criminals’ they are allowed to hire.”
State Sen. Jeff Brandes is expected to again pursue legislation to preempt local governmental restrictions on TNCs, along with either state Rep. Jamie Grant or state Rep. Matt Gaetz, both of whom have carried similar bills in the House in recent sessions.