Uber, the increasingly popular app that connects riders with drivers at the tap of a button -- an alternative to traditional taxi service -- has launched a petition on its website that residents of Florida can sign in their support of two bills moving through the state Legislature that would modernize Florida's transportation laws. In less than 24 hours, more than 9,000 Florida residents and visitors have signed the petition asking representatives to "stand up for innovation."
Uber makes calling a car easy and eliminates the frustrations of going through a taxi dispatcher, thanks to its app. Riders download the app and enter their credit card information, so billing is instantly set up. Thanks to GPS-enabled smartphones, the app allows drivers to know where riders are, even if they're unsure of the address. Riders can order a car by text, see where the closest car is, and get an estimate for how long a driver will take to arrive. Typically, a car will come in 15 minutes.
Uber has expressed interest in entering the market in Florida, but laws in many cities prevent it. In Miami, for example, old laws designed to protect the taxi industry specify that there's a one-hour minimum wait time rule for private cars, and private car transport requires a $70 minimum charge. Also, the number of licenses issues to private cars is limited. As of today, Jacksonville is the only Florida city that has operable Uber service in the area. Uber is asking Floridians to support the elimination of price controls, artificial caps on vehicle licenses for sedans, and minimum wait times for transportation. It's possible that changes to the state law can override laws in various cities at the municipal level.
Uber's blog titled "Let the Sun Shine On Innovation" is urging Floridians to fight for their right to use the transportation service. Uber is asking citizens of the Sunshine State to sign the petition in the hopes the state will take notice and modernize its transportation laws.
"Florida -- we're getting closer! The road to Uber Florida is a long one, weaving its way through the state Legislature, where representatives are voting on bills that would allow Miami, Tampa Bay, and Orlando to join Jacksonville as Uber cities, but before that happens, we need your help!"
"To date, over a hundred thousand Florida residents and visitors have opened the Uber app to connect with a stylish ride, only to find their transportation needs can't be met. Floridians want their leaders to stand up for innovation, not special interests. Uber in Florida means thousands of new well-paying jobs for local economies and delivery of safe, convenient, and seamless transportation alternatives."
Uber asked that you show your support for their service in Florida by contacting your representative. Tell them to vote yes on SB 1618 and HB 1389 and tweet #MoveFLForward. For more information, visit the Uber blog.
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