Uber app battle heats back up in the Fla. Senate

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- The battle over Uber heats up again in the Florida legislature. The app allows you to pick a driver and get a lift all through your phone.

According to Uber Technologies, at the tap of a button you can be connected with a driver and in minutes be picked up, without ever having to pull out your wallet. It's all done through the Uber app.

But, that doesn't impress John Madiedo. He traveled up from Tampa to oppose a bill that would help Uber operate in that district.

"There's nobody that says we don't want this company to do business in Hillsborough County. All that we're asking for is that we all play by the same rules," Madiedo said.

He also believes apps like Uber hurt the consumer and the cab industry.

"They're not addressing the needs of the riding public and the safety of the public in dealing with insurance issues," he added.

Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, filed the bill. It says districts can't require transportation app companies to have a minimum wait time, a minimum fair or restrict the number of permits issued to operate. Cities can regulate everything else.

"They're operating in 50 cities around the country today. It's fair in those areas, it's going to be fair in Hillsborough County," Brandes said.

The app is currently used in Jacksonville. Several business owners testified at the hearing to share their own good fortune using Uber.

"I want everybody to experience the freedom and the peace of mind that I have experienced since Uber came to town," said Andrew Solomon with Royal Transportation.

Despite legislators' wishes, the bill discussion went on for more than an hour. It ended up passing 7-3.

"The environment that that system has created is so wonderful," Solomon said.

The bill now moves on to another Senate committee. It will probably face a tough battle to make it on the floor.

Most of the senators agreed, even the ones that voted for the bill, that the decision to lift restrictions on apps like Uber should be up to the local district.


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