Future of ride-sharing in Hillsborough debated

Uber and other companies may soon learn more about their future locally.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn was caught up in traffic on his way to a meeting Monday.

“How appropriate,” he said, seeing how the meeting was on proposed regulations for ride-share services such as Uber and Lyft that some say would drive the services out of Hillsborough County,

On Wednesday, the Public Transportation Commission will vote whether to approve new rules for ride-share companies. They include a $7.00 minimum fare, a seven-minute minimum wait time for passengers, annual vehicle inspections for drivers and fingerprint-based background checks.

The rules will then go for a public hearing in October. If it passes it will go to the Department of Administration for review and the governor's office for an independent review.

Uber execs fear the new rules could drive them out of town.

“It is part of who we have become and there is no reason that the PTC should deter us from succeeding in any way shape or form,” said Cesar Fernandez, senior public affairs associate for Uber.

Those in favor of the regulations say it’s all about your safety if you use these companies and about fairness for the cab industry.

Commissioner Al Higginbotham sits on the PTC and has led the charge for regulation. He says if the measures pass, it could still hit road blocks.

“It's incumbent on the elected officials to make sure that the public when they're getting in to a vehicle, they're safe and they have insurance,” Higginbotham said.

As for Buckhorn, however, he said you can't put these services in park, because it’s something the people want.

“The consumer is gonna drive this decision, it's not gonna be me,” he said.

Previous: Ride sharing regulations coming up for vote

(© 2016 WTSP)


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