A voter referendum for Uber/Lyft in Jacksonville? - Florida Politics

A voter referendum for Uber/Lyft in Jacksonville?

At least one Jacksonville official says the 904 should follow the lead of Austin, Texas when it comes to how to regulate ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft.

City Councilman John Crescimbeni said all he’s calling for is a level playing field.

“Either everybody plays by the rules, or we just get rid of the rules altogether,” Crescimbeni told WJCT. “And just let the citizens, the riders, worry about how safe the vehicles are.”

Voters in Austin last week upheld stricter regulations on app-based vehicles for hire, causing Uber and Lyft to pause operations in that city.

Crescimbeni, who has received campaign support from traditional taxi companies in the past, expressed frustration with the relative lack of progress on the issue in Jacksonville, despite the fact that a council Vehicles for Hire Special Committee has been meeting for months.

“Do we regulate this industry at all? Maybe we don’t. And if we do regulate, are we compelled to make the rules apply for everybody?” he said.

A ballot initiative on the ride-hailing issue would require a change to the city’s charter.


In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at m.ross66211@gmail.com.


  1. Interesting how your articles repeatedly mention campaign contributions by the taxi companies but never mention the contributions made by these multi-billion dollar ride-sharing companies done through their discreet methods. Why are you not focused on the real issue here? Do some research and you will discover the hundreds of sexual assault and other crimes these driver have been involved in. Have you asked these companies why they oppose fingerprint background checks (the most reliable and accurate method of conducting background checks)? And yes, I’m a taxi guy.

  2. There needs to be level playing on background checks as well as fare pricing and driver compensation. Uber has driven fares to such a low point that drivers do not maintain vehicle safety measures. Oil changes, tires, brakes, are all worn beyond the limitations. You wpuld hope, as I found, that the drivers would find other jobs, but many are desparate… And in the end, someone will lose their life.

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