Florida’s transit system is a major topic of discussion this session with public safety being the primary concern. Affiliates with the state’s Taxi and Limousine companies joined lawmakers at the Capitol Wednesday to back a plan regarding ride share services, like Uber.
Uber, uses a smartphone application to connect riders with drivers who have their own vehicle. The operation has raised many questions across the country concerning the safety of passengers.
Rick Versace, President of the Florida Limousine Association, says the company’s insurance policy is a problem. “If you have any loop holes where even one customer get transported, one time without the proper insurance…. that too big a risk and we think that it has to be one hundred percent insurance, one hundred percent of the time. That’s the message. Public safety, public awareness,” said Versace.
Versace is calling on lawmakers to enforce strict rules for ride-sharing companies when it comes to insurance, background checks and vehicle safety.
Lou Minardi is President of the Florida Taxicab association. He says the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, or FIGA, is a necessary standard for all transportation drivers.
“The fact that they’re taking compensation under Florida law requires that they be under a FIGA insurance company, which all for-hire are,” Minardi said. “We’re all required to have a FIGA company insurance because it’s a consumer protection. If you have an accident in a vehicle it protects the driver, the passenger and any third party.”
The Association is in favor of a bill filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes (R- St. Petersburg) that requires better insurance for Uber and other ride-share drivers. Brandes' bill would create the first statewide requirements for the companies and would likely supersede any regulations in place on a local level.