Florida Senate poised to regulate ride-sharers Uber, Lyft

Posted April 20, 2017

Local governments won't be allowed to regulate ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft under legislation passed almost unanimously by the Florida Legislature.

The bill by Chris Paddie, a Republican from Marshall, brings ride-hailing companies under Texas regulators' control while requiring them to pay state fees.

It now heads to Gov. Rick Scott for signature or veto. Historically, local governments have been allowed to regulate taxi and limo services.

The proposal received the backing from Uber and Lyft.

"We go from a patchwork of local regulations that were in conflict to each other to a statewide regime that provides harmony, stability and certainty for riders and drivers alike", said Colin Tooze, spokesman for Uber.

Roger Chapin, vice president of Orlando-based Mears Transportation, said he wasn't surprised the bill passed but it might not have much impact since Uber was already operating in Orlando and throughout the state.

Brandes said it is also a step forward in what he views as the long-term future of transportation: a network of driverless cars run by ride-sharing companies. According to city data, 290 permits have been issued and 305 tickets for noncompliance have been issued since it was passed.

The state law would demand drivers carry insurance of $50,000 for death and bodily injury per person, $100,000 for death and bodily injury per incident, and $25,000 for property damage.

Under the bill, drivers would have to undergo criminal background checks to weed out people with certain convictions, including sexual assault and drunken driving.

The airport filed suit against Uber in 2014 for not paying fees.

Uber drivers in San Francisco will be seeing their costs for working as independent contractors for the company rise in the coming weeks.

On the contrary, a statement has been made by the Lyft officials, which says they will investigate in this matter, and if these allegations come true, they will obviously take major legal action against the company.

The bill reads that regulation of ride-sharing would be handled by the Florida Department of Financial Services. Bill Galvano, a co-sponsor of the bill.