Update: The Orlando City Council voted unanimously on Dec. 8th to move the proposed ordinance forward to a second and final vote.
This Monday, Mayor Buddy Dyer will present an ordinance that ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft say will force them out of Orlando. The proposed ordinance would require ride-share companies like Uber to more than double their fares for consumers and critics claim it will also enact burdensome red tape, costing Orlando jobs and creating longer waits for rides.
This new legislation is “written for taxi companies that don’t want to have to compete” according to Uber.
“Tell Mayor Buddy Dyer that the city shouldn’t be in the business of stopping innovation or forcing consumers to pay higher prices for lower quality,” the company urges local residents ahead of the City Council vote. Supporters can pick up a free Uber t-shirt at City Hall Plaza from 11:00am until the hearing begins. Lyft will also be attending the meeting and will be giving away free t-shirts for supporters outside the Council Chambers in City Hall at 1:30pm.
The proposed ordinance would create a new category of vehicle for hire, titled “Livery Vehicle” according to City Hall, which would force a minimum fare of 125% of the established taxicab fare for this category. The ordinance also outlines several other regulations and requirements.
Instead, ride-sharing companies are asking Mayor Dyer and City Commissioners to go back to the drawing board and bring them to the table to find a solution. Uber is calling on City Commissioners to write modern rules for modern transportation. The company wants an ordinance that will “create thousands more jobs in Orlando, ensure tourists have access to the modern ride-sharing options they expect, and allow you to decide what transportation options and prices are best for yourself.”
Dyer has been at odds with the ride-share companies since they launched services in Orlando. This summer, Dyer ordered Orlando police to ticket Uber drivers. However, after meeting with Uber executives months ago, it was reported Dyer was ready to find compromise. “It would take a substantial re-write of our vehicle-for-hire code. I think it’s appropriate to do that,” Dyer said in June.
This wasn’t the re-write Uber and Lyft were imagining.
The move by Orlando’s City Council would also seem hypocritical of the message touting the City’s hopes to lead the nation in technology, apps and innovation. City leaders want the community to embrace modern transportation options and solutions, yet our officials seem determined to undermine services other major U.S. cites are welcoming. The political powers (and money) from big interests like Mears Transportation are clearly at play for all the support provided to Dyer and other officials over the years.
Uber and Lyft are calling on supporters to show up on Monday for the City Council meeting, which will take place at 2:00pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall (2nd floor, 400 S. Orange Ave). The companies are urging residents to email, call or tweet Mayor Dyer and other Commissioners in addition to showing up in-person. Weigh in with your City Commissioners on the issue before Monday’s planned vote:
Commissioner Jim Gray
Commissioner Tony Ortiz
Commissioner Robert Stuart
Commissioner Regina Hill
Commissioner Samuel Ings