(Tallahassee, Fla.) – “Your Uber Is Arriving Now.” That was the subject line of an email invitation lawmakers received this morning. Those who accepted the invitation found an Uber car, indeed, awaited their arrival. The shiny, black SUV stuffed with more than 13,000 petitions, was parked in the courtyard between the State Capitol and Historic Capitol buildings.
Florida residents and visitors recently signed the petitions online at www.FloridaNeedsUber.com to support Senate Bill 1618 and House Bill 1389. Within a day of making it available online, thousands signed the petition and word spread as signers tweeted #MoveFLForward. The legislative proposals promote consumer choice and increased transportation options by eliminating antiquated regulations.
Eric Barney, a professional driver from Jacksonville, Fla., drove the SUV to the State Capitol. Barney partners with Uber, a technology company that connects riders and drivers. Jacksonville is currently the only city in the state where Uber Black operates, and the company wants to expand into other cities with high-demand transportation needs.
“Consumers in Florida want better transportation options. We know this because more than 100,000 people have attempted to use Uber’s app(lication) to no avail in Miami, Tampa Bay, Orlando and beyond,” said Justin Kintz, Head of Policy for the Americas at Uber. “We want to help consumers in Florida meet their transportation needs, but politics stand in the way of progress.”
Kintz continued, “I am excited to be a part of one of the most popular new services in global commerce, as Uber already operates in more than 85 markets worldwide. But I grew up in Florida, and frankly, I do not want to see my native state left standing on the curb.”
Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) and Rep. James Grant (R-Tampa) are sponsoring SB 1618 and HB 1389, respectively.
“The legislation is a common sense approach that simply eliminates minimum fairs, minimum wait times and caps on the number of licenses permitted,” said Brandes. “Safety and insurance requirements will still be handled at the local level.”
Grant added, “Innovative transportation alternatives like Uber increase options and keep prices low for consumers. Local governments should put consumers first and let the market drive prices rather than outdated regulations that have allowed a small number of companies to corner the market.”
Uber is not the only company supporting Brandes and Grant’s bills. Numerous organizations and businesses have voiced their support for the legislation. Here is what some had to say.
“Small business is at the core of Florida’s economy. Government should not stand in the way of growing business by creating artificial barriers that do nothing but protect the status quo.”
– Bill Herrle, Florida Executive Director, National Federation of Independent Business
“The last thing government should be doing is blocking innovation and consumer choice. Regulation that protects an industry – and not consumers – is keeping Florida in the dark ages and is bad for consumers.”
– Brewster Bevis, Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Associated Industries of Florida
“AT&T is proud to support legislation that modernizes laws removing barriers to new technology investment and job growth while promoting even more competition and choice for Florida consumers. In Florida, competition is robust. Many companies are competing for Florida customers across numerous technologies. No one company has the dominant share in any communications segment in the state.”
-Joe York, President, AT&T Florida
“Floridians like me deserve better. I’ve been living in South Florida for two decades now, and I can’t tell you how many times I have been denied a ride. The fact is that the City, the County and the State are protecting these shameful operators by blocking innovation and free competition!”
– Maurice Lopes, Miami Entrepreneurship Center, Founder of EarlyShares.com
“Florida is at the forefront of economic expansion and small business growth. It is our duty as industry professionals and thought leaders to help further the development and creativity of entrepreneurial type businesses to encourage sustainability and growth for years to come.”
– James Lewis Wark, Gilt
“I have used Uber in 10 cities around the world. I am working hard to build Miami’s tech scene, but I can’t use technology in Florida when I’m home. As both a consumer and tech leader, I support this legislation that will overcome unnecessary regulatory hurdles. As an entrepreneur, it is horrifying that one of the most successful and highly rated services in the world hasn’t been able to operate in Florida for over two years.”
– Demian Bellumio, Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Senzari, Founder of SIME Miami and MIA Music Summit
“If the state of Florida wants to consider itself a place of innovation in the 21st century, it has to abandon protectionist measures that do little to benefit the masses and stifle growth.”
– Brian Breslin, CEO and Founder of Refresh Miami
“The Internet Association believes that encouraging innovation and allowing technology to thrive only brings about a more competitive marketplace that ultimately benefits the consumer.”
– Michael Beckerman, President and CEO, The Internet Association
“Personal responsibility, freedom of choice and free market principles are the hallmarks of economic growth. As the third largest state in the U.S., Florida should do everything to create a regulatory infrastructure that promotes innovation and entrepreneurship.”
– Abbie MacIver, Florida Director of Policy, Americans for Prosperity
Uber is evolving the way the world moves. By seamlessly connecting riders to drivers through our apps, we make cities more accessible, opening up more possibilities for riders and more business for drivers. From our founding in 2009 to our launches in over 100 cities and 35 nations today, Uber’s rapidly expanding global presence continues to bring people and their cities closer. For more information, go to www.Uber.com.