Broward News

Uber Comes to Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach

Uber, the controversial car service that has earned a cult following but irked cabdrivers nationwide, has arrived in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

On its website, the company announced UberX service starts today: "We've had an awesome time bringing safe, affordable and stylish transportation to the streets of Miami this summer. And now, South Florida residents in neighboring Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach can also enjoy the convenience, safety and reliability of requesting a ride with the push of a button."

Its high-end UberBlack service remains unavailable in South Florida.

See also: UberX Is Killing Cab Industry, Drivers Say

To summon a car with Uber, you generally download an app and pay a fixed fee. There's no dispatcher, as with conventional taxi or limousine services, and no county regulation.

Uber started a petition to get the Florida Legislature to approve a bill to allow it statewide earlier this year, but that effort failed.

The firm nevertheless moved ahead to several locations throughout the state, including Miami. Commissioners in that county also resisted efforts to legalize the service.

Police are fighting back. In June, they confiscated cars of several drivers for a competing service, Lyft, in Miami and fined them up to $2,000 for operating illegally. It is unclear whether Broward or Palm Beach sheriff's deputies will take a similar track.

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Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse