First Coast Connect: Stricter Regulations For Ride-To-Hire Vehicles May Be Up To Voters

May 12, 2016

Council Member John Crescimbeni
Credit http://www.coj.net/city-council/city-council-members

The Jacksonville City Council might consider leaving it to the voters when it comes to stricter regulations for app-based ride-for-hire companies, such as Uber and Lyft.

Council member John Crescimbeni appeared on Thursday’s First Coast Connect to discuss why he believes ride-for-hire companies should be made to follow similar regulations that taxi cab companies follow.

“What I am an advocate for,” Crescimbeni said, “is an equal playing field.”

In Jacksonville, vehicle-for-hire companies — like taxi and limo drivers — must abide by the Jacksonville Ordinance Code; companies such as Uber and Lyft do not.

Crescimbeni stated that Uber came to this market a few years ago and lobbied the council to enter the ride-to-hire field because some of the regulations in the ordinance code did not allow for the on-demand service to exist.

Many taxi cab companies have voiced concerns saying they are placed in an unfair situation because of a higher regularity burden.

The issue concerning regulating ride-for-hire companies has been recently discussed throughout our nation. Voters in Austin, Texas, upheld its city council ruling requiring all ride-for-hire companies have stricter regulations, including finger print background check. Uber and Lyft have subsequently suspended their services in Austin.

Crescimbeni said that the two big questions at hand concerning this issue in Jacksonville are, "Do we regulate this industry at all?” and if we do regulate the industry, “Aren’t we compelled to make the rules apply to everybody?”

“In this case we have a set of rules that Uber and Lyft are essentially ignoring, but that we are holding the cab companies, speak to the fire, to comply with. It is unconstitutional and I don’t think that’s fair.” Crescimbeni said.

Crescimbeni recommends the measure appear on the August ballot.