Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Uber targets Hillsborough PTC members in advance of coming rules vote

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

After the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission began citing Uber drivers for operating without permission in Tampa two years ago, the ridesharing giant initiated a campaign against two of its boards members. Now with the PTC poised to approve new rules that both Uber and Lyft consider beyond the pale, Uber is doing it again.

Mailers targeting two member of the PTC, Tampa City Councilman Guido Maniscalco and Plant City Commissioner Nate Kilton, have been issued in advance of the PTC’s Rules and Policy Workshop committee meeting next Tuesday.

“The Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission (PTC) is considering a special interest-backed proposal to push ridesharing companies like Uber out of the market,” the mailer reads. It calls on citizens to contact Mansicalco or Kilton to vote no on the proposed new rules, which have been shaped by the taxicab industry and a startup ridesharing company in Tampa called DriveSociety.

Among the newly proposed rules include background checks that require that ridesharing drivers be fingerprinted, a bridge too far for both Uber and Lyft.

“The rules being proposed by the PTC, if adopted, would be the worse regulatory framework for ridesharing in the country,”Uber spokesman Javi Correoso emailed to SPB 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.”

Steve Anderson, an attorney for Lyft, previous told the PTC that the company considers fingerprinting their drivers unacceptable, and said that the San Francisco based company operates in 33 other states where that isn’t the case.

Maniscalco was at a City Council meeting on Thursday night and unavailable for comment, but he’s indicated in the past that he doesn’t want to block Uber and or/Lyft. Neither now does PTC Chairman Victor Crist, who previously was scorned by the ridesharing companies, but now has embraced their demands.

“They need to do that,” Crist said of Uber’s full court press to persuade board members to oppose the new rules. Crist said that Uber should be targeting board members like Temple Terrace Council member David Pogorilich and Tampa City Councilman Frank Reddick, who support the new rules.

“These are pretty significant rules that are being considered, and there’s provisions in there that make it difficult for their model to work,” he says, referring to Lyft and Uber.

If the rules committee approves the new proposals next week, the full PTC board will vote on them the following week.

501657761_17887956_8col

 

 

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

Latest from The Bay and the 'Burg

Go to Top