After saying it couldn't do business in Broward County when commissioners pushed through new regulations on ride-sharing app companies, Uber has announced it will suspend operations in Broward effective July 31.
Back in April, in a statement provided to New Times, Uber spokesman Bill Gibbons said the company wouldn't be able to do business in Broward under new guidelines. Gibbons said that Broward commissioners let down "tens of thousands of Broward County residents who urged the commission to protect their jobs and access to safe, reliable rides through countless calls and emails."
According to multiple reports, it seems Uber was unable to adhere to the county's background-check requirements.
Commissioners' regulations called for drivers to submit background checks and fingerprints directly to the county, as well as follow requirements to carry commercial vehicle insurance. The insurance Uber offers has too many loopholes, Broward commissioners have said.
Uber had countered the county's background-check regulations with its own, asking the county to instead allow a third party to conduct background checks rather than the county itself. Uber's argument had been that a third party would be more thorough in making sure no bad seeds got through during background checks. Uber also asked for a third party to conduct vehicle inspections, asking for the commissioners to allow an ASE-certified mechanic to perform inspections, rather than a mechanic from the county.
But with the commissioners unwilling to budge from their regulations or even accept an alternative from Uber, the ride-sharing company had made very real threats that it would pack up and leave the county.
"We cannot operate in Broward County if such onerous regulations are enforced and stand ready to reengage with the commission to bring more choice and opportunity back to Broward County," Gibbons told New Times.
Still, while Uber is suspending operations by the end of the month, it's counting on feedback from customers to force the county to pull back on its regulations.
With the announcement of the suspension of operations, Uber launched an online petition asking customers to let Broward commissioners know they want the ordinance amended.
"The Broward County Commission has created one of the most hostile regulatory frameworks in the nation, raising substantial barriers for local entrepreneurs trying to earn a living and making it impossible for Uber to continue providing the high standard of service and affordability the community has come to expect and demand," part of the petition reads. "Rather than provide substandard service, we have decided to suspend operations while we seek a path forward. As a result, you will no longer be able to request a ride in Broward County, starting on July 31."
Uber is counting on public support to pressure the county to "bring Uber back" when commissioners return from vacation.