Dana Young urges Hillsborough PTC to reject new rules for Uber, Lyft - Florida Politics

Dana Young urges Hillsborough PTC to reject new rules for Uber, Lyft

Writing that “Hillsborough County is better than this,” Dana Young is the latest Tampa Bay area lawmaker calling for the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission to reject proposed new rules that ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft say would force them out of the local market.

In a letter Tuesday to PTC Chair Victor Crist, Young says the current proposal set for a vote by the PTC “is plainly designed to be an anti-competitive attempt to push ride-sharing companies out of Hillsborough County.”

“If this occurs,” she added, “our constituents will pay the price by losing a safe and reliable transportation option.”

Young’s letter was co-signed by 12 members of the local Tampa Bay area legislative delegation.

Last week, a PTC subcommittee approved new regulations representatives from Uber and Lyft have said are unacceptable. They include a seven-minute wait time for a passenger to get a for a vehicle for hire in the county, a $7 minimum fare, and Level II backgrounds checks that require fingerprinting their drivers. That last demand actually compelled Uber to leave the Austin, Texas market this past spring, so both companies appear serious about not bending on that issue.

On Monday, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn headlined a news conference featuring members of Hillsborough County’s entrepreneur, tourism, and business sectors. They also called on the PTC to reject the proposed rules.

Although the state Legislature failed to come up with statewide regulations of ride-sharing companies, Young’s letter vows the issue will finally be addressed in the next regular Legislative Session, which begins March. Young says the PTC board should hold off on any action regarding ridesharing in Hillsborough until the 2017 legislative session ends next spring.

Joining her in co-signing the letter are two local Republicans well-known for their enthusiasm for ridesharing and loathing of the PTC — Jeff Brandes and Jamie Grant. Republican legislators Larry Ahern, Danny Burgess, Richard Corcoran, Bill Galvano, Jake Raburn, Shawn Harrison, Wilton Simpson, Ross Spano, Dan Raulson, and Democrat Darryl Rouson also signed onto the letter.

Some Hillsborough Democrats have been much less vocal in criticizing the PTC and speaking up for the ridesharing companies than their Republican brethren since Uber and Lyft began operating in Hillsborough in the spring of 2014.

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you for keeping our college kids safe. Uber and Lyft have become the designated drivers for USF kids. Their football stadium ( Raymond James) is miles from campus. They also have no night bullrunners at USF ( like FSU has Night Noles bus). So kids have to drive everywhere.
    I am a big fan of public transportation. When we first went to check out that college ( we’re from South Florida) I told him We’d get there by public transit ( since we were NOT buying him a car). We took the Amtrak train from South Flirida to Tampa Union Station. That was the easy part. There are no city busses leaving Union Station that take you to the USF campus/ Moffat Hospital campus. We had to walk quite a ways in the dark then transfer to get to campus. Now he calls Uber from train station to campus. He and his friends take Uber from bars. Football games whatever. I’m sure several adults do that as well. Tamoa students and residents are safer because of these services. Please do not make it hard for them to operate there.

  2. Thank you for writing this story. I rely on a combination of transit services in Tampa, including the bus, rides from family members, and Lyft and taxis, if the Taxi will show up. But recently a Taxi was called for but no Taxi driver was willing to pick me up, while i was trying to get to a Medical appointment. It’s clear we need all the Transit options we can get in this town, so I hope the ride-sharing firms are not driven out of town by the PTC.

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