Five months to the day after launching in Miami-Dade County, Uber will now cover the vast majority of South Florida after launching in the Keys and Southwest Florida today. That means the UberX service reaches 82 percent of the population of Florida despite its legality still remaining somewhat murky in many areas.
Uber's launch today will now bring its on-demand taxi-like services to the Florida Keys, Fort Myers, Naples, Sarasota/Bradenton, and Ocala markets.
While for the most part, Uber drivers will only drive you locally, the company has begun to experiment with long-distance services as well. In November the company launched the UberHighway program that offers rides from Tampa to Orlando at a flat rate. It's possible similar routes could be offered elsewhere in Florida in the future.
All of this expansion comes despite the fact that Uber remains technically illegal in many parts of Florida. Miami-Dade commissioners seem to have accepted that Uber is here to stay, but so far have not passed an ordinance that would actually authorize the service. Broward County officials are still actively fighting the service. Meanwhile, a statewide law to legalize Uber failed to pass in the legislature last year.
The legal situation of the markets it's entering today are unclear, but what is clear is that Uber really doesn't care at this point.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.