Broward commissioners have been hearing from Broward cabdrivers and Uber representatives Tuesday about the possibility of seeking a court injunction against Uber and Lyft, which cabdrivers say are playing by a different set of rules than regulated taxi cab companies.
In December, the county sent Uber and Lyft a letter ordering them to "cease operations in Broward County'' until their drivers complied with county taxi laws and transportation regulations. Uber ignored the letter. Meanwhile, cabdrivers sent commissioners a letter on Monday asking them to either level the playing field or let the cab companies operate free of regulations, as Uber and Lyft do.
Uber has spread in popularity nationwide and recently secured $1.2 billion in funding. People looking for a ride simply download an app and pay a fixed fee. No money is exchanged between rider and driver, and there's no dispatcher, as with conventional taxi or limousine services.
But Uber has also been a major sore spot for local cabdrivers, who say the company plays by its own rules while poaching away customers.
There are also no industry regulations placed on the drivers, which has been an issue with taxi cab companies across the country.
Uber has had to jump over multiple hurdles to set up shop in South Florida, first by way of a petition to get the Florida Legislature to approve a bill to allow it to operate, which failed. But Uber touched down in Miami and soon after spread into Broward County.
Broward County commissioners then sent both Uber and Lyft a letter, telling them to comply with county laws. Included in these laws are having drivers obtain chauffeur licenses, permits, and decals. There are also requirements for a separate set of decals to be allowed to transport riders to and from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport as well as Port Everglades.
Uber has defied to comply, which led county cab companies to unite and send their own letter, this time to the commissioners on the eve of their meeting.
"Clearly, neither Uber nor Lyft have any intention of following the ordinance and complying with the Board's Cease and Desist Letter sent in November," the cab company's letter says. "Hopefully any new ordinance will even the playing field."
The letter goes on to say that the traditional cab companies are suffering "irreparable damage" for complying with the county's laws while Uber and Lyft are left to operate as they wish.
The letter then requests the commissioners to lift the regulations on the cab companies.
According to the Sun Sentinel, Commissioner Dale Holness proposed the possible court injunction while a number of commissioners said they would be willing to write new laws to accommodate Uber.
Broward Politics, which has been following the commissioner's meeting Tuesday, tweeted out that cabdrivers came in droves to speak out and share their thoughts. Uber reps were also present.
Uber driver says their cars are not smelly, are relatively new and the drivers take the shortest route, unlike the cabs / Britt— Broward Politics (@browardpolitics) January 13, 2015
"Uber is, they're a bully. They've taken Broward County's lunch money. They're about to stuff you into the locker.'' speaker Van Ness /BW— Broward Politics (@browardpolitics) January 13, 2015
Senior Yellow Cab driver says wife is 80, has dementia. His cab driving keeps them afloat. If Uber is allowed, his cab permit loses value/BW— Broward Politics (@browardpolitics) January 13, 2015
"People don't like Uber they LOVE Uber,'' Hollywood dude says. Urges county not to support "taxi mafia'' / Britt— Broward Politics (@browardpolitics) January 13, 2015
Commissioner Beam Furr: I don't favor injunction against Uber, unless negotiations fail by March 1. "This IS an innovation'' / Britt— Broward Politics (@browardpolitics) January 13, 2015
You can read the letter sent by the cab companies to the commissioners below. We will update this post as more information comes in.