Uber delivers 13,000 petitions to state lawmakers — in a shiny black SUV, of course

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“Your Uber Is Arriving Now.”

That was the subject line of an email invitation lawmakers received this morning.  Those who accepted the invitation found an Uber car, indeed, awaited their arrival. The shiny, black SUV stuffed with more than 13,000 petitions, was parked in the courtyard between the State Capitol and Historic Capitol buildings.

Florida residents and visitors recently signed the petitions online at www.FloridaNeedsUber.comto support Senate Bill 1618 and House Bill 1389. Within a day of making it available online, thousands signed the petition and word spread as signers tweeted #MoveFLForward. The legislative proposals promote consumer choice and increased transportation options by eliminating antiquated regulations.

Eric Barney, a professional driver from Jacksonville drove the SUV to the State Capitol. Barney partners with Uber, a technology company that connects riders and drivers. Jacksonville is currently the only city in the state where Uber Black operates, and the company wants to expand into other cities with high-demand transportation needs.

“Consumers in Florida want better transportation options. We know this because more than 100,000 people have attempted to use Uber’s app(lication) to no avail in Miami, Tampa Bay, Orlando and beyond,” said Justin Kintz, Head of Policy for the Americas at Uber. “We want to help consumers in Florida meet their transportation needs, but politics stand in the way of progress.”

Kintz continued, “I am excited to be a part of one of the most popular new services in global commerce, as Uber already operates in more than 85 markets worldwide. But I grew up in Florida, and frankly, I do not want to see my native state left standing on the curb.”

Sen. Jeff Brandes and Rep. James Grant are sponsoring SB 1618 and HB 1389, respectively.

“The legislation is a common sense approach that simply eliminates minimum fairs, minimum wait times and caps on the number of licenses permitted,” said Brandes. “Safety and insurance requirements will still be handled at the local level.”

Grant added, “Innovative transportation alternatives like Uber increase options and keep prices low for consumers. Local governments should put consumers first and let the market drive prices rather than outdated regulations that have allowed a small number of companies to corner the market.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.