Cities Rebel Against County Over Uber





Broward cities are rebelling against the County Commission.

Four cities, upset that County Commissioners’ new regulations are chasing Uber out, want to allow the ride sharing services in their cities.

Lauderhill, Parkland, Sunrise and Weston’s city attorneys have been asked whether they can find a way to allow the ride sharing services — Uber and Lyft.

Whether this would require the three cities to opt out of the county’s tough regulations has not been debated yet.  Uber and Lyft’s willingness to service just those cities is also unknown.

The mayors’  idea would be to allow Uber and Lyft to operate in their cities and possibly take riders between cities.



Uber advertising


Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan said the matter will be discussed at next Tuesday’s Sunrise City Commission meeting.

It has already been discussed in Weston.

Weston Mayor Dan Stermer and commissioners asked its attorney to examine the possibility of that city passing its own regulations to allow ride sharing.

“Many residents and visitors to our city use the services,” Stermer said. “…(Ride sharing) is easy to use and doesn’t require cash.  It’s becoming a way of travel…To say Broward County won’t allow it is shortsighted….”

Weston plans a workshop on ride sharing before the end of August.

Lauderhill Mayor Richard Kaplan also is talking to his City Attorney on whether there is a way to allow Uber and Lyft in his city.

“Many people around town are asking me about this. From a safety perspective, Uber is providing a valuable service, allowing people a different and reasonable transportation alternive is the correct thing to do. I know we also have some Uber drivers in Parkland. In twenty years in the City I have never seen a cab,” Mayor Michael Udine of Parkland said.

The issue is scheduled for debate at the Parkland City Commission next week.

Cities west of Interstate 95 have complained for years about the availability of taxis for their residents and ride sharing has expanded the availability of alternate transportation. Many traditional taxi drivers prefer to stay along the beach and near the airport.

Ryan said Uber and Lyft “not only offer choice to residents, but encourage people to use safe alternatives to driving themselves.  There have been many complaints over the years regarding the availability of taxi cabs in the western corridor.”

He said there have been “complaints regarding taxi cab quality, availability, timeliness and high cost.  To date, uniformly, since introduced in Broward County, I have heard residents comment that the cost was cheaper, the response was more timely, the system was safe and the cars were well maintained.”

And the Sunrise mayor also noted that “there are certainly implications to economic development by discouraging the ability of such (ride sharing companies) to travel in and out of Broward County.”

If the cities attempt to allow different regulations for Uber and Lyft, it could trigger a court fight with the county.

County Commissioners, who are currently on a six week vacation,  have so far ignored complaints from Uber fans about the service threatening to leave Broward.

Commissioners, who get thousand of dollars in campaign contributions from taxi interests and their lobbyists, contend the new regulations are necessary for health and safety. The regulations require fingerprinting of drivers, high insurance levels and fee requirements.

Uber claims its own background checks and insurance levels are tougher than the county’s requirements and that fingerprinting drivers is an unnecessary step. Many other cities and counties allow it to operate without requirement fingerprinting of drivers.

My take:

Broward County Commissioners bleat about public safety.  But this is really all about protecting an entrenched near-monopoly on taxi cabs propped up by their lobbyist friends.

This issue begs for resolution by the state Legislature.

State Rep. Matt Gaetz, a powerful Republican from the Panhandle, failed to get some statewide common sense regulation of ride sharing in the last session. Let’s hope he is more successful next year.




17 Responses to “Cities Rebel Against County Over Uber”

  1. more dui's without UBER says:

    I am concerned about the number of DUI’s that will hurt, maim, and kill people.

    I know many people who use Uber when they go out. We want Uber the way it is-please listen to us!

  2. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Just as the West Broward cities rip off the Coastal Cities like my own Fort Lauderdale by having the County’s West Broward Commissioners short change Fort Lauderdale on tourist dollars generated here, on this issue we in Fort Lauderdale have good taxi service and the places like Parkland get short shift on taxi services. For once Sunrise, Weston, etc. are right, the County should NOT harass a service that West Broward needs. Two wrongs don’t make a right. But, in the general picture, the cities, not the corrupt County Commission, should have more say in everything from Tourist and CRA dollars to taxi/Uber regulations., The City Commissioners are closer to the people, and frankly, LESS UNDER THE THUMB OF THIS OR THAT LOBBYIST! I hope (this time) Mayor Mike Ryan of Sunrise wins ON THIS ISSUE!

  3. Loophole says:

    Perhaps Fort Lauderdale could allow Uber and Lyft airport pick up at the portion of the terminal that is within Fort Lauderdale City Limits……

  4. stupid stupid stupid says:

    I am flabbergasted at this ridiculousness. If there was ever an instance of ignorant politicians, this is a perfect example.

  5. Eric Hersh says:

    Can you imagine if the taxi cars in Ft. Lauderdale had to undergo an inspection? No AC / seatbelt not working…and on and on. Where is Ft. Lauderdale Commission to support this service as they continue to approve more development downtown without regard to traffic and parking. Can’t have it both ways. Either provide stricter parking for new development and improve roadways, or support these services to get cars off the streets.

  6. T. Solara says:

    Broward County is always making national headlines for doing something stupid. I’m sure this will be another embarrassment for our County.

  7. Kevin Hill says:

    Well, I’m not a lawyer. But it is my understanding that since Broward is a charter county, then county ordinances trump city ones.

    Interestingly, in non-charter counties, it’s just the opposite of this (a city can pass laws to trump county ordinances in their municipal limits).

    Hopefully the city attorneys can find a way around this.

  8. I'm outta here says:

    Retain only the two Broward County commissioners who are in favor of UBER and Lyft. The others we can kiss goodbye at the next election . Maybe they will see why all the qualified college graduates are running from the state as fast as they can . Just read the Sun Sentinel article about the valedictorians of the 2000 graduating class. How 90% of them have graduated college and either never returned back to the state or left this State. UBER and Lyft The ways of the future and for the better . Just the way the Internet has closed down basically all of your travel agencies these app based programs will close down the archaic taxicab system. I have already closed down all of my businesses and just can’t wait one more year till I can “flee this State also”.

  9. M says:

    The commissioners are only looking at lobbying dollars. Every friend I have has vowed not to vote for a commissioner that voted out UBER. Its the perfect time for a new candidate to enter on a pro Uber, pro tourism, pro business platform. Uber provided a valuable service with nice cars and was becoming the norm for those looking to go out for the night. DUI’s were down across the county. Who wants to pull up to a party or a nice restaurant in a dirty cab with an ad for a strip bar on top? Too bad yellow cab. You allowed yourself to become so pathetic that competition kicked your butt.

  10. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    Look, I want Uber and the others in Broward for many reasons competition being among them but national experience accummulated over decades shows that taxi or cab drivers need to be licensed in order to protect the public. Most are honest and safe, but that industry is particularly ripe for situations that pose risk and that can result in consumer rip offs.

    New fangled business ideas are always wonderful additions to society, yet cab services will always pose a public safety and consumer protection risk. Thus, this imperative that government get out of the way, all of that anarchistic stuff, it does not change the risks or the realities.

    When you get into a cab with a total stranger who has control over the steering wheel and the door locks, you need to have a reasonable assurance that you’re not going into an unsafe situation. That’s why these drivers are licensed. The rules should be reasonable and evenly enforced — one set of rules for everybody. And minimally they should include the following.

    1) Background checks. Level I checks work with name, DOB and SS number. They cover only Florida convictions and are basically not very helpful if you’re a felon from out of state. You enter Florida undetected if that’s the standard. Consumers lose with this proposition.

    Level 2 involves fingerprints and a national and statewide search, including aliases and outstanding warrants checks. It’s a much better assurance that somebody, from out-of-state, with a horrible conviction doesn’t move to Florida to become a cab driver because they can’t make a living in their own state which is only too happy to pass them along to us.

    For sure, there is NO added benefit to passengers from not having a Level 2 background check. Only less benefit and less safety assurance to passengers. It is the passenger — not the drivers — that government seeks to protect when they license.

    2) Proof of commercial insurance at some reasonable amount has to be shown at the time of license application and maintained throughout the use of that license to protect passengers in the event of an accident, where the driver’s personal insurance refuses to pay because the car was used for commercial reasons. We must protect the passenger as this is the point of licensing.

    3) The car has to be inspected to ensure that it is road worthy. We can’t have people going into cars that are unsafe and some basic standard must be imposed for all cars used as taxis, cabs or Ubers, etc., to ensure they are safe.

    4) The driver’s name, license number, information about fares, and places passengers can call to complain needs to be prominently displayed in the vehicle.

    To me, those are the most important elements in a proper licensing regulation for public conveyance drivers. They should be evenly applied to all drivers no matter who the owner is. One set of rules for all. I do not believe these are onerous requirements and find it strange actually that the opposite suggestion would even be attempted.

    Last is the issue of employee protections. Uber considers these drivers “independent contractors” and not employees. Were they employees, payroll deductions for social security, disability, health insurance and the rest would be deducted. Instead, drivers are to file their own income tax. Three Uber drivers have sued the company claiming that they are legally employees and not independent contractors.

    We shall see who wins that argument and I can guarantee that the IRS and the courts will be unimpressed with petitions. They will seek to apply the law to the facts and arrive at a hopefully just conclusion on that question.

    That said, I really hope we find a way to keep Uber. I like the concept but they need to ensure residents of safety and offer them consumer protections. That’s what licensing laws are designed to accomplish.


  11. City Activist robert Walsh says:

    You Uber drivers esp. should file suit against the county for preventing you from earning a living., Forget the regulation county comm. go w/ for every ride Uber does they give you $2.oo bucks. Perfect. Forget about Jessie Gaddis and his political contributions to the commissioners. Time is now to move forward. It ha s been proven the local taxis are dirty, drivers are rude and its a horrible experience. The key here Comm>kiar work your magic , reintroduce your motion(let Uber do the background checks etc- ) and get Comm>bogen to change his vote(he will and reintroduce your 250 g from Uber Mr.Bogen.) There should be a special session just for Uber before comm. comes back. How about the Monday before they come back. It won’t kill them to come back a day early. (PS, good reporting Larry B-to my moles good work as well-always accurate. PSS keep the ax out Mayor Seiler(7th floor), you are not done yet……)

  12. ChachaBroward says:

    Is Gaddis who is the long time lone wolf controlling this commission pack from his hilltop of taxpayer money, still the PowerHand?

  13. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    May I point out to Mr. Hersh and everyone else who complains about the obscene gigantic projects that the Fort Lauderdale City Commission and Government is considering or has recently voted on, except for maybe Mr. Fred Carleton and Mr. John Weaver, and myself NO ONE EVER SHOWS UP TO QUESTION LET ALONE OPPOSE THESE PROJECTS! At one public hearing I was the SOLE PERSON TO QUESTION LET ALONE OBJECT, and at a SECOND I WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO OBJECTED – to the apparent discomforture of the City Commission who expects approval of all such projects so that they can PUT A GARAGE ON EVERY BLADE OF GRASS AND A HOTEL ON EVERY GRAIN OF SAND! If you want to get decent development plans for Fort Lauderdale SHOW UP AT CITY HALL ONCE or TWICE! Blogging does NOTHING!

  14. Uber Insurance Questions says:

    What I would like to know is why the issue of insurance is not coming up. Isn’t it true that Uber says it has 1 million in coverage. But there are 2 facts: 1. If the uber driver does not have coverage (commercial) and there is an accident, you have no coverage, and 2. Uber says it has 1 million in insurance but UBER SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING LOST PROFITS, LOST DATA, PERSONAL INJURY, OR PROPERTY DAMAGE RELATED TO, IN CONNECTION WITH, OR OTHERWISE RESULTING FROM ANY USE OF THE SERVICES, EVEN IF UBER HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.

    SO IF THERE IS AN ACCIDENT AND THE DRIVER DOES NOT HAVE COMMERCIAL INSURANCE, which is what is required of cabs registered with the county, and what Uber is objecting to, then what recourse does the passenger have in a case of personal injury and negligence? I don’t know, just asking.

  15. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Angelo Castillo once again seems to live in his own, working for a politician world! HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I BEEN IN A CAB THAT BREAKS DOWN IN FT LAUDERDALE? The worst two times the cab drivers admitted that they complained the taxis weren’t working well and their bosses insisted they take them out! Licencing seems to be with insurance something the political hatchmen keep bringing up. But every driver of every car in the State of Florida HAS TO HAVE INSURANCE! As for “licencing”, there is a real dispute between UBER and the “political hacks” because UBER says they DO CHECK references. I mean, let the CITIES DECIDE, the City Commissioners unlike the brought and paid for County Commissioners are closer to the people!

  16. Snott VV Rothstein says:

    Oh Annjello why are you posting on BSO work time?

  17. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Likely this is quite probably a waste of time…but I will do this one last time.

    Dear Count:

    I have managed state, local and federal regulatory agencies before. Agencies that acutally issue licenses. Lots of them and lots of different kinds.

    Based on that experience I have offered an opinion that constitutes good and prudent public policy. Now, you’re free disagree but if you do at least find a factual reason.

    With respect, some of your comments aren’t quite correct.

    First, as to the experience we’ve all endured with smelly or substandard cabs, fixing that problem is a very valid concern. However it is also a very different question than the one being discussed here.

    In an a tourist area or any area, quality standards for public conveyances and similar vehicles should exist and be enforced as other communities in the US do routinely. Competition like Uber would also help with that problem. Let’s hope that happens, however this post is about licensing standards. Not enforcement.

    I have suggested herein that vehicles should be inspected for road worthiness. In my mind that standard includes an unoffensive ride experience. Standards and enforcement of same would be required as other US licensing agencies do all the time.

    Second, insurance is not just insurance as you suggest. A personal auto insurance policy will not reliably cover injuries or damage to property sustained while the vehicle is being used for commercial purposes. Most auto policies state that very clearly. Typically that kind of coverare requires a rider for commercial use, more commonly a separate policy is required for cabs, taxis, etc.

    If someone wants to be a cab driver, especially if that is a business they are creating as the Uber model suggests, then they need to be properly insured to offer coverage in the event of an injured passenger or damage to property. If insurance is not in place, the passenger and the public will be at risk of not being able to successfully file a claim.

    To repeat, licensing standards exist to protect consumers — in this case passengers — not the licensees, which in this instance are drivers or their cab companies. That is the precise reason why government issues licenses as there would be no other valid reason.

    Third, if you ran a business that required a criminal background check on employees, would you accept a check performed by an employee applicant? I suggest you’d be wise to not trust applicants with that responsibility.

    Well, for that very same reason — to provide independent assurance to the passenger that their driver is not a previously known dangerous criminal — the issuer of the license needs to do the criminal background check. Now, I’ve explained why Level II is the correct standard to use. But hey, suit yourself. I favor safety for the consuming public above any other consideration and that’s what intelligent licensing does.

    Last, you say that cities should make these decisions?? Well, I am a city commissioner. And I am suggesting that since the County issues these licenses, not cities, they need to take these actions. Protecting the consumer — in this case the passenger is the only reason they license cabs.

    Whatever your animus for government or officials or whatever else irks you, common sense has been offered in connection with this matter to protect your safety and those of the general public.

    Those are my thoughts in this matter and, that said, peace to you and all my friend. I hope that Uber and Lyft are brought to Broward responsibly.