MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Ride-sharing service Uber sent out an email to its riders Thursday saying if legislation proposed by Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Jean Monestime is passed Uber would likely leave the county.
The company says Monestime’s proposal is too restrictive by among other things – requiring the county to do background checks on its’ drivers.
Uber urged its’ riders to support competing legislation proposed by Commissioner Estaban Bovo.
Bovo said his legislation would allow Uber to continue performing its’ own background checks on drivers and make that information readily available to the county.
“I don’t want to take a business that seems to be thriving, seems to be growing and now having government come in and unravel what they’re doing,” Bovo said. “We believe that the taxi industry should be in the 21st century and not bring this new technology back to the 20th century.”
Bovo said he wants to look at insurance issues and make restrictions less intrusive cab companies as well.
But Diego Feliciano, president of the South Florida Taxicab Association, believes Uber is trying to take the county for a ride.
“Uber is like an illegal maverick in the wild, wild west,” Feliciano said. “They’re getting away with everything.”
Feliciano believes the county should do background checks on Uber drivers and that Uber’s insurance isn’t enough to protect riders.
Uber, however, says each ride by their drivers is covered by a one million dollar accident liability policy provided by the company.
Still, Feliciano believes the playing field needs to be level – and that if Uber gets what it wants, it will be bad for thousands of cab drivers.
“What Uber has done is not competition,” Feliciano said. “What Uber’s done is come and stole the jobs of the Dade County taxicab drivers.”
Cecil Murfree says he uses Uber often and hopes all parties are able to reach a sensible resolution.
“I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Uber,” Murfree said. “You can control the quality of Uber, unlike the cab companies.”
On Friday, Chairman Monestime will have a news conference on his legislation regarding Uber.
CBS4 News tried to speak with Monestime on Thursday but was told that he preferred to make his statements at Friday’s news conference. Then, next Wednesday both of these bills will be on the agenda and there will be a first reading and public input.