Regulation Ahead For Tallahassee Uber Drivers

Feb 26, 2015

Credit Monika Hoinkis

City commissioners are considering a plan they say would put drivers for the taxi app Uber on the same playing field as other cab drivers in Tallahassee. But the move seems to be honking some people off.

After the recession hit, Roger Bell says he struggled to find a job and keep up with bills. Then he says Uber came to Tallahassee and gave him an answer.

“This has afforded me the opportunity to look for full time employment in addition to earning income to help take care of my children as well as pay bills,” Bell says.

And Bell is not the only one who has had that experience. During a city commission meeting Wedneday Uber drivers told stories about their desperate searches for jobs before Uber came to town, as well as stories about the people they’ve helped by driving – from young people who got safe rides home, to elderly and disabled people who drivers say appreciate the above and beyond service they provide. It’s a stark difference from the picture John Camillo paints. He represents the Yellow Cab company. And says Uber's terms are much different.

“By using the services you acknowledge that you may be exposed to situations involving third party providers that might be unsafe, offensive, and harmful to minors,” Camillo reads.

Camillo says 120 licensed drivers work for Yellow Cab. And the city is looking into a plan that would require Uber drivers to undergo the same licensing Yellow Cab drivers do. Commissioners introduced an ordinance Wednesday that would require all drivers of “vehicles for hire” to pay $30 for a permit from the Tallahassee Police Department. Part of that permitting process will require drivers to pass a drug test. The ordinance will also require all vehicles, whether owned by the driver or company, to undergo an inspection. And it will require drivers to annually provide updates about their insurance information. Finally, it sets maximum rates for Uber drivers.  The Commission didn’t discuss the issue Wednesday, but will hold a public meeting on the subject March 25.