Dade Commissioners Okay Uber, Lyft Restrictions

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Miami-Dade commissioners passed an ordinance in favor of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.

The ordinance, proposed by Commissioner Esteban Bovo, passed on first reading 10 to 2 .

Uber got almost all that it asked for.  Some requirements were placed on the ride-sharing companies:  The drivers must obtain a county license, they must undergo background tests at Uber’s expense, their vehicles must undergo annual inspections to make sure they’re safe.

They will not be required to be insured 24 hours a day, but only when they are going to be carrying and dropping off passengers.

Related: State Senate Seeks Insurance Requirement For Uber Drivers

This was a huge issue for cab companies whose vehicles are required to carry commercial insurance 24/7, and they say that puts them at a huge disadvantage. Bovo countered that cabs are commercial vehicles, carrying passengers is all they do, while Uber drivers also use their cars to go to the grocery store and take their kids to school.

The ordinance requires that cabs, by this fall, get outfitted with apps that allow customers to summon and track them, just as they do Uber drivers.

Uber and Lyft will be able to pick up and drop off at the airport, but only if called.  They will not be allowed to congregate at the airport as cabs do, and may not be hailed from the curbside, as cabs are.

But what began earlier as a meeting to vote on two competing ordinances had left just one.

On Wednesday, Chairman Jean Monestime decided to pull his ordinance off the table, which proposed the toughest regulations on Uber and other ride-sharing companies.

Bovo and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez  had joined forces to offer the now passed ordinance to ensure Uber remained in the county.

Dozens of Uber and Lyft drivers crowded into the Stephen P. Clark Center to express concern about what they perceived to be over-regulation proposed in Chairman Monestime’s ordinance.

Monestime wanted the drivers to have insurance at all times, even when not driving their vehicles, and also wanted government-ordered background checks for all the drivers.

In the discussion too are taxi drivers who say they are concerned. They want Uber to have the same regulations that they face.

“What Uber has invented is not a taxi ride. What they’ve invented is how to skirt the laws of our government, not pay the airport or anybody fees, not have any background checks, so you can throw any warm body behind a car, and that’s an atrocity to the riding public of this county,” said Diego Feliciano, President of South Florida Taxicab Association.

City leaders are including everyone’s input.

“We’ve met with taxi industry leaders. We’ve met with limousine industry leaders, trying to craft a holistic view of how can we move the dial in this important piece of legislation,” said Bovo.

About two hundred people had signed up to speak during the public hearing portion of the County Commission meeting, with most saying they planned to speak about the Uber ordinance.

Now that the ordinance has passed, there will be workshops and a final vote on a tweaked ordinance in March.

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