The full Florida House is set to vote on a bill that's pitted Florida taxi cab operators against car-service tech company Uber. The measure narrowly passed its final committee today after its sponsor narrowed it to apply only in Tampa instead of statewide.
Christina Bichache and her husband operate JMS Limo Service in Miami. She says they started with one car and now have 24. But because Miami has a cap on the number of limos allowed on the road, Bichache says she’s paid other operators about $30,000 each for all but two of her permits. That’s why she supports the bills limiting local regulations on limos.
“Right now my drivers were working on independent contractors. If Uber was to come, I would be able to offer them full salary, full benefits,” she says.
Bichache says she believes partnering with Uber would increase her business. Limo companies can find customers and take fares through Uber’s smartphone app. But rules like those in Miami and Tampa get in the way of Uber’s on-demand service model.
In the bill’s last House stop, eight members voted no because they were concerned about usurping local control. That was after Rep. James Grant (R-Tampa) changed the legislation to only apply to Tampa. But with the Senate version still scheduled for another committee, Bichache says she’s hopeful other cities will be added back in.