Broward News

Uber One Vote Away From Returning to Broward County

Broward commissioners voted on Tuesday to have a final vote for a new, lax law that would allow Uber to return to the county. As has always been the case whenever the commissioners meet to discuss the ride-sharing app company's operations, many citizens showed up to voice their opinion, with the majority of the opposition coming from the taxi industry.

The four-and-a-half-hour discourse ended with commissioners voting 6-3 in favor of taking a final vote for new rules that would allow Uber to operate under a Level I background check, as opposed to Level II, which would have required their background checks to be fingerprint-based and would have to go through the county first.

Uber has been at odds with Broward officials, as well as Palm Beach, since the company began to make threats that it would leave town if the counties pushed through regulatory measures. In July, Uber made good on its threat and left town. The outcry from the public was such that it forced commissioners to revisit their regulations, and now Uber is one vote closer to operating once again in Broward County.

Uber has long said that the regulations imposed on it would cripple the way the ride-sharing company conducts business in a community that has embraced it.

"The ordinance is very detrimental to our ability to continue providing safe, reliable rides and economic opportunity the residents of Broward County have come to expect," Uber spokesperson Kaitlin Durkosh told New Times. 

Knowing that it has the backing of the community, Uber has asked customers via email invitations to appear at commission meetings to voice their opinions.

"Your County Commissioners need to hear from you to understand how eliminating access to safe, reliable transportation has impacted you and your family," read one such email. "Join us at the hearing, where you’ll be able to share the challenges you now face without access to safe rides at the touch of a button."

The idea behind the county's original regulations was to require local, state, and national criminal records of anyone applying for an Uber or Lyft driver job. This includes fingerprinting background checks and having the county itself handle them. Uber already has its own method of conducting background checks and inspections and says the original proposed rules would create more hurdles to get the service out to customers. The taxi industry, meanwhile, has argued that it is heavily regulated and says giving Uber what it wants would make the playing field uneven.

As part of the new, more lax measure, the commissioners are asking Uber to pay a percentage of its revenue to the county from fares made at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades, which is a rule the county holds taxi and limo services to.

The final vote is scheduled for September 17.
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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph