Uber Threatens to Pull Out of Miami-Dade Ahead of Commission Discussion

Uber continues to thrive in Miami-Dade despite the fact it's technically illegal. After some early attempts to drive the ridesharing service out of town after its launch, Mayor Carlos Gimenez decided to let the company, and its competitor Lyft, continue to operate in a legal gray area. On January 20, the Miami-Dade County Commission will finally get around to discussing two ordinances concerning the ridesharing apps. 

In an email blasted out around noon to its customers in Miami-Dade, Uber threatened to pull out of the county if one of those ordinances passes over the other. 

"One ordinance welcomes Uber to Miami-Dade and would create a permanent regulatory home for ridesharing here," the email reads. 

"But the other proposal, sponsored by [commission] Chairman [Jean] Monestime, is one of the most hostile ridesharing laws in the country — and, if passed, would make it impossible for Uber to continue operating." 

The email then asks customers to contact their commissioners to tell them to support the pro-Uber bill. Though, clicking the automated email link will also send the message to Monestime, who at one time worked as a taxi driver. 

Uber's preferred bill is sponsored by Commissioner Esteban "Steve" Bovo. 

The main difference between the two bills is that Bovo's would allow Uber to certify its own drivers and require the company to provide insurance only to the cars while a passenger is on board. Monestime's version, however, would hold Uber to similar regulations as taxis. That means the county would be in charge of screening drivers, and proper insurance would have to be carried always on any car used to transport Uber passengers

Uber is hugely popular among its customers and has used that loyalty to its advantage in other local legal fights across the country, often by temporarily halting service (or threatening to) in the affected area. Earlier this year, Uber stopped service in Broward County. After the interruption, the county commission there ended up passing legislation more favorable to the service. 

The fact that Uber has contact information, including email addresses and home zip codes, for its customers certainly helps. Taxi companies don't keep that sort of information and can't send a mass email in support of legislation.
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Kyle Munzenrieder