Despite an aggressive push in Tallahassee, car service app Uber's hopes to enter the Miami market are on the back burner once again. A bill that would prohibit local governments from placing restrictions on chauffeured car services has now been amended so that it affects only Hillsborough County.
Despite this, the company has recruited the Miami Heat's hometown hero, Udonis Haslem, to record a radio ad.
Even legislators who supported Uber had voiced concerns that the battle should be fought on the local level. In response to those concerns and general opposition, both the House and Senate versions of the bill were gutted. The bills would now prohibit only special districts from placing certain restrictions on chauffeured car services. Hillsborough County, where Tampa is located, is the only county in the state that has set up such a special district to regulate services such as cabs, taxis, and tow trucks.
Miami's restrictions on chauffeured car services would not be changed. Currently, chauffeured cars most charge at least $70 and wait an hour after the service is called to send out a car. So unless the county commission has a change of heart, Uber won't be operating in Miami-Dade anytime soon. However, Uber would likely continue its efforts in Tallahassee next year.
Taxi drivers have generally opposed Uber's entry into the market. They fear the company would take their best business away without having to follow the same regulations.
"I just don't see the taxicab industry existing in Miami-Dade County if someone gets to do what we want to do and not doing what we have to do," Diego Feliciano, president of the South Florida Taxicab Association, told Riptide earlier this month. "It's just not a fair playing field."
However, Feliciano noted he'd be happy if Uber applied its app to Miami-Dade taxis. He just doesn't want to see Uber's unregulated black cars competing with taxis.