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Orlando Challenges Uber's "Impossible" Claim On Ride-Sharing Rules

Ridesharing companies connect passenger with drivers using mobile phone apps. Photo: Uber.
Ridesharing companies connect passenger with drivers using mobile phone apps. Photo: Uber.

The City of Orlando is responding to Uber’s claims that it is “impossible” for its drivers to comply with some of the city’s new ride-sharing regulations.

On Wednesday, four days after the regulations took effect, Uber officials told 90.7 News that there’s no way for its drivers to get the newly-required $250 permit because an administrative process hasn’t been created yet.

Not so, says City of Orlando spokesperson Heather Fagan. The City made a few tweaks to its existing vehicle-for-hire requirements to accommodate Uber, but “the process related to driver permits and vehicle permits has always existed, and that’s the background check, the vehicle inspection, [and] commercial insurance,” Fagan explains. “And so that process has existed and is in place.”

Fagan says the City has discussed creating an electronic permitting process with Uber, but that Orlando leaders made it clear that process would not be ready by February 1st.

She says Uber’s compliance with the permitting requirement is important, because it provides assurance that the car and driver are operating safely.

“We’re very unique here in Orlando with the amount of visitors that are coming here, and the safety of not just our residents, but also our tourism – it’s an industry that we rely heavily on – is paramount to us,” says Fagan. “So we want to make sure that anybody that is driving our residents or our visitors has a background check, a safe vehicle, and insurance if something were to happen.”

Fagan says the new regulations will be enforced.

Nicole came to Central Florida to attend Rollins College and started working for Orlando’s ABC News Radio affiliate shortly after graduation. She joined Central Florida Public Media in 2010. As a field reporter, news anchor and radio show host in the City Beautiful, she has covered everything from local arts to national elections, from extraordinary hurricanes to historic space flights, from the people and procedures of Florida’s justice system to the changing face of the state’s economy.