Ride-sharing services are not in the same league as taxis and traditional transportation services, and thus do not fall under the same set of rules.
By Jacob Engels
Ride-sharing service Uber is now facing a battle on yet another front following their arrival in Central Florida this past summer, which created an all out war between the company and the City of Orlando. Almost immediately after the popular ride-sharing service began operating in Orlando, the City of Orlando began ticketing and towing the private vehicles of Uber drivers, with tickets and fees sometimes exceeding $500.
Officials claim that the ride-sharing services are violating city regulations. These efforts were green lit by city officials, and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer who along several Orlando City Commissioners recieve heft campaign contributions from Uber competitors like Mears. Now, after Mears Transportation and other transportation services have seen profit margins drop – they are receiving help from the Orlando International Airport by way of a lawsuit against Uber, which is widely viewed as the superior preeminent ride-sharing service and superior to traditional cab services.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Orlando International Airport is suing Uber, ordering its drivers to stay off its property and seeking $150,000 in damages because the ride-sharing company isn’t paying any fees.
“There are approximately 600 companies which operate 7,000 vehicles that follow the rules at the airport. Uber is not complying, therefore the authority has been compelled to file a lawsuit,” said Orlando International Director Phil Brown.
The problem with the lawsuit? Privately operated ride-sharing services like Uber are not in the same league or category as the quintessential yellow cab. Uber drivers are independent contractors who use their own vehicles, and pass a background check and carry their own insurance. They work their own hours, and simply utilize the Uber app to find individuals looking for help getting from point A to point B.
Fees average 30% less than that of traditional cab fares, and that’s what has the elected officials and now Orlando International Airport worrying. You see, for elected officials it’s about keeping big campaign donors like Mears happy – who fear that Uber will continue to cut into their profits.
For OIA, it’s about the bottom line – they make close to $10 million yearly from fees they collect from traditional transportation services. Major cities around the world have allowed Uber and other ride-sharing services to flourish and it’s about time the City of Orlando allows the marketplace and citizens the access they deserve to legitimate, albeit less traditional methods of transportation.
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at email@example.com