taxicabs

Graphic by Uber. Color darkened by WLRN for clarity.

Key West will start arresting drivers for ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, the city announced Tuesday.

Starting Wednesday, any driver violating the city's vehicle-for-hire ordinance will be arrested, said Alyson Crean, the city spokeswoman. The city has 56 licenses, all of them issued to taxi companies.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

UPDATE: The Miami-Dade County Commission has canceled the May 19th workshop on ride-sharing, but most expect the meeting to be rescheduled.

There’s a big legal gray area in Florida when it comes to ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber. Technically they’re operating illegally, but local counties have turned a blind eye to their operations, which in Miami are now hitting the one-year mark.

Key West Police: Don't Share This Ride

Dec 31, 2014
Graphic by Uber. Color darkened by WLRN for clarity.

Key West police detectives recently conducted an undercover sting operation they called "Operation Safe Hire" targeting Uber drivers. Two drivers were cited with violating city ordinances that require drivers of vehicle for hire to have a permit from the city and for the vehicles themselves to have a special license.

The maximum penalty for each violation is a fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail.

facebook.com/TheFreebee

This weekend, a service called FreeBee will start offering free short-distance rides in Brickell. The electric cars are paid for by advertisers in exchange for branding exposure.

The service's fleet of 20 electric vehicles has already been operating for two years in Miami Beach. 

FreeBee director of public affairs Linnea Rae calls the service a "marketing asset for prospective advertisers" that "caters to consumers by giving free rides around the community."

How The Taxi Industry Became Legit In Miami

Jul 2, 2014
Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

About 56 years ago, in a county devoid of apps, smartphones and cars with pink fluffy mustaches, there lived a taxi industry that didn't rely on Miami-Dade County regulations.

That taxi industry without regulations is long gone, but ride-sharing apps Lyft and UberX are here -- and they're trying their best to stay. The smartphone-based companies connect users with drivers, and like Miami's old taxis, they don't rely on county regulations.

The taxi industry isn't too happy about this. 

Shunned By Miami-Dade, Uber Looks For Alliances Elsewhere

Mar 26, 2014
Justin Scott Campbell/Flickr

Sen. Marco Rubio, as well as several Florida state representatives, are trying to clear the road for a popular smartphone app called Uber to operate in Miami-Dade. The app, which allows people to hire a town car and driver through a few taps of their phone, has been meeting fierce resistance from the county’s taxi companies.

WALTER MICHOT / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

 

Old technology — but new to many Miami-Dade County taxis — is coming to local cabs.

An overwhelming majority of county commissioners signed off Tuesday on sweeping legislation requiring all cabs to take credit cards and install SunPass transponders, GPS devices and digital security cameras.

Drivers will have six months to install SunPass. Credit-card machines will be required in two years. GPS and backseat security cameras will be required in 30 months.

PAMM Reaches Out To Area Taxi Drivers

Nov 27, 2013
Rachel Morello / WLRN

If you’ve driven down Biscayne Boulevard in downtown Miami over the past few months, you might be wondering what lurks behind the brightly colored banners and trailer trucks north of the AmericanAirlines Arena.

That’s the site for Museum Park -- the Pérez Art Museum, PAMM, along with its future neighbor, the Frost Museum of Science. 

Because of ongoing construction, PAMM is difficult to find. To show taxi drivers exactly where they can drop off their customers, PAMM gave away free coffee and donuts to cabbies Monday morning. 

Joseph Mayuga / Flickr CC

The Transportation and Aviation Committee met 

Wednesday for a hearing about regulations for luxury-sedan and limo drivers. If Miami-Dade County commissioners allow for an unlimited number of such drivers, mobile-dispatch companies such as Uber could operate in the county.

The Uber app allows users to hail cabs with their mobile phones. Regional manager Rachel Holt says it would benefit those users as well as local taxicab workers.

Arianna Prothero/WLRN

About 50 taxicab drivers gathered outside county hall Monday morning to protest several pending changes that would impact their industry—specifically, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez's new Ambassador Cabs program.

The program basically creates a higher set of standards for taxis and drivers, or “ambassadors,” who serve Miami International Airport and PortMiami. One of those changes would require cabs to take credit cards.

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