An Uber Decision: Taxis Lose Advantage in Court

By Daylin Delgado

The story of Uber, a transportation company for more than just people, began in 2008 at a LeWeb conference in Paris. Co-founders, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, began working on a quick, mobile service that could solve the issue of waiting for taxis that never come. In 2010, the company was sending out cars in New York for testing.

Uber has presented a quicker, cheaper and more stylish way to get around. The company sends modern vehicles that outdo the everyday yellow taxi, attracting customers who enjoy presence and style. With growing popularity, Uber has gotten a bad reputation among taxi companies that believe the new company is altering the traditional business world. These companies may be right.

Uber is damaging business profits. Its drivers are freelance workers – they don’t receive benefits like sick days or worker’s compensation. Chief executive of Breezeworks, a smartphone app designed to help small business owners, Matthew Cowan said these new firms are causing a separation of small business from customers. Cowan comments, in a Mercury News interview, on the issue’s presence in political campaigns, “All the candidates talk about how small business is the backbone of the economy, but these companies are a direct threat.”

The law on the taxi industry was written shortly after World War II to keep tight regulations on industries. Critics  say the law discourages innovations – limiting the number of permits. Limited permits create a low supply of taxis that disregard cleanliness and hospitable service.

Uber has created a cleaner and friendlier service with more opportunities to catch a ride anywhere. Providing everything traditional taxi companies don’t, Uber had a flood of customers while simultaneously taking them from other companies. Flow of business is one of the biggest reasons taxi companies use in lawsuits against Uber, demanding compensation for the loss of profit.

When Uber emerged in South Florida, local governments made threats to impound Uber cars and give the drivers traffic tickets. After several consumer protests, Broward and Palm Beach counties started to draft ordinances that make operation for the ride-for-hire company easier. Miami-Dade continued to resist the operation for a while.

Still, in August 2015, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez hinted at new regulations that will allow Uber to operate legally. “I’ve got to bring the taxi drivers into the 21st century,” Gimenez said in the Miami Herald, “I’m not going to bring Uber back to the 20th century. That’s the plan.”

It is likely the plan will be new rules for Uber along with loosening the regulations of traditional taxis. With South Florida counties submitting to the demand for Uber, it seems the company is set to stay and continue growing.

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