Uber (Website | Facebook) is looking to expand to the Orlando area.

Bungalower has learned that Uber is hiring drivers in Orlando for their UberX program for a possible expansion into Orlando.

The app based car service provides on demand vehicles for hire. A user with the Uber app can ask for a car to pick them up at their location. They also pay via the app.

Uber considers themselves a technology company that delivers lead generation for transportation providers.

Uber offers two main services; UberBlack and UberX. UberBlack uses your standard black luxury sedans whereas UberX in most cities is a Toyota Prius or similar. UberX has reduced fares over UberBlack.

Uber currently operates in 40 cities across the US and in 34 countries.

Right now Uber would not be able to operate in Orlando because of the current city ordinances regarding vehicles for hire. For example luxury vehicles have to charge a minimum of $25 and charge by the hour. Uber starts with a low base fare and charges by the minute or the mile with minimum fares around $5 for UberX and $10 for Uber.

Uber vehicles don’t qualify as a Taxi either because they don’t meet most of the taxi regulations including having a meter in the vehicle, a local call center, phone number on the vehicles bumper, light up top and uniform color scheme.

Uber is yet to file for a Vehicle for Hire permit with the City of Orlando or contact the Vehicle for Hire Unit to operate within the city limits. That may be because they plan to bypass City Hall and go straight to the State Legislators.

Instead of working with each city or county to change the individual ordinances, Uber is working to change the laws at the state level that would not allow the city or county to have the types of regulations that prevent Uber from operating as they do in other cities.

Rachel Holt the Regional General Manager for Uber East Coast told Bungalower “We’re focused on legislation that will help bring Uber to cities across Florida, including Orlando.”
In a blog post Uber points out that they are pushing for the passage of FL SB 1618 and HB 1389 which they say would eliminate minimum wait times for transportation,  minimum fare requirements and artificial caps on vehicle licenses for sedans.

Mears Transportation which is the largest taxi and luxury car operator in the area is opposed to changing these regulations.

Recently Mears put out a statement saying “Uber and other ridesharing or ‘transportation network companies’ business plans rely heavily on changing or ignoring local regulations – regulations designed to protect consumers and ensure service to all citizens.”

Mears takes issue with the fact that by requiring users to have a smart phone and credit card they are leaving out over half of the population according to research from

Mears also noted that in a survey of Florida residents most felt that Uber should be regulated the same as taxi cabs. However, of the users that responded only 9% had actually ever heard of Uber before and only 2% had ever used Uber.

Taxi companies and organizations have fought Uber coming into the market in many cities.

Currently Jacksonville is the only city in Florida where Uber operates.

We’ll continue to keep you posted with Uber’s progress on coming to Orlando.

Here’s a look at the ads they have been running on Facebook:
Uber Ad 1 Uber Ad 2

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  1. Uber can’t get permits to operate downtown or at the airport because then they would have to be required to carry the $2 million dollars in coverage per vehicle that a vehicle for hire has to carry. If a normal person without this coverage picks up a fare with the bare minimum state requirements of insurance, which is $10 thousand dollars of coverage (because who can afford $10k a year for $2m in coverage), and gets in an accident, there won’t hardly be enough money to cover an MRI for the passenger. How many accidents are there involving cabs? Almost 5% of personal injury cases are cab and rental car company cases. Even the bicycle cab companies downtown have $250k of coverage and licenses to operate. Uber will not be able to bypass these ordinances and I’ve seen 15 gypsy cabs towed just on a Thursday by Orlando Police Department.

  2. If the idea is to power our lives with a touch of a button, we can do that without involving the https://plus.google.com/s/%23underinsured https://plus.google.com/s/%23Uber drivers. You can locate and summon a licensed cab driver in https://plus.google.com/s/%23orlando https://plus.google.com/s/%23Tampa and https://plus.google.com/s/%23Stpetersburg   https://plus.google.com/s/%23Florida using https://plus.google.com/s/%23Saytaxi
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  3. And as soon as someone decides to buy the insurance, permits and licenses and follow the laws and regulations all the other companies have to follow then you will have some fair competition. It isnt about NO competition, it is about FAIR competition. There is a reason that you must have (very expensive) commercial insurance to drive people for hire just as there are very good reasons you should not get in a car for hire that doesnt have it! It is for YOUR protection as well as the drivers and the companies! The same with all of the other rules and regulations that Uber so happily flaunts. They exist for a reason and are not nor should they be optional.

  4. some one needs to compete with mears, right now they can almost charge what they want to customers and also the high price lease to drivers.

  5. The best option for taxi app is #Saytaxi.  Saytaxi recruits individual drivers and does not give preference to Mears or anyone….Just good licensed and insured taxi drivers.From your https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/ios or https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/android device, simply launch https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/saytaxi app and tap the “Find a ride” option at the bottom of the screen. The app automatically detects your location and smartly locates the nearest available driver based on your preferences. http://www.saytaxi.com

  6. Um, yeah there is . Lack of insurance is a pretty good one. UberX drivers are required to have their own private insurance. Only problem is, there is not a private insurance company in the country that will cover you if you are transporting passengers for hire. And that million dollar policy Uber claims kicks in AFTER the private insurance runs out has to date never paid a penny to any one. Instead, Uber reminds all involved that they are “just an app”, not responsible and simply halt communication with the driver essentially hanging them out to dry. Buyer/rider/driver beware … and maybe do some research. There is a reason commercial livery insurance costs so much. All the taxi companies want is a level playing field.

  7. uber is a lifesaver.  Mears and other taxi companies hate it because the model is so successful and a detriment to their business.  I have no sympathy for this — they can keep up with the times are get pushed out.

  8. Totally agree with Matt. This would be great and much needed addition to SunRail and the like. And really? Are we supposed to stand behind the taxi juggernaut MEARS as a go to option?!?

  9. mears has almost a monopoly here in town and they own the OC commision…uber won’t get anywhere with local government here….but i would like to see them enter the market and shake things up.

  10. Getting a cab in Orlando is a joke. I’ve called as many as 4 cabs to get picked up for the airport, and only one showed… 30 minutes after calling! It has gotten better in the last year with Mears launching their own app, as well as apps like Taxi Magic (which Mears apparently gets the first pings), but still ridiculous for a city our size.

  11. On our recent trip to D.C., my girlfriend and I used Uber many times. I hope this bill passes and Uber comes to Orlando. Orlando’s taxi services (and Mears) cannot compare to Uber. The cars are much nicer, service is faster, and it is much cheaper.

  12. To be clear Uber has not reached out to the City to figure out how they can operate so I don’t know that it’s fair to say that Orlando is putting a block on them. The regulations have been in place since 1998.

  13. It is no surprise that Orlando is putting a block on them. Just another example why Orlando will always be behind compared to major cities around the country. I used it here in Dallas and it is so convenient. I love it.

  14. Pete Downing. There is not 1 good reason UBER shouldn’t already be in Miami & Orlando & EVERY CITY…

  15. So disappointed to see it would not be legal here in Orlando. We need to change that. I would definitely consider using in the downtown area. I would never use a taxi.

  16. Yes! Uber will do very well here with all the convention business and it’ll be great for those of us who live here and are disappointed with the taxi services. Hope it starts soon!

  17. LOVE Uber! I use them when I travel to Philly. I downloaded the app even though they’re not in Orlando yet. 🙂