Bungalower has learned that the City of Orlando is now towing UberX vehicles and issuing drivers citations for violating the vehicle-for-hire laws.

As we’ve reported in the past, UberX drivers don’t operate with any licensing from the City and they wouldn’t qualify for a vehicle-for-hire permit under the current rules.

The drivers are getting two citations for a total $420 plus their vehicle towed.

On the second violation within a year the fine doubles.

One citation is because the driver doesn’t have a proper license and the other is because the vehicle doesn’t have a permit.

“This is the same as what happens to other gypsy cabs, “Heather Fagan a spokesperson for the City of Orlando told Bungalower.

Five drivers were ticketed last night in downtown.

The OPD operation ticketing the drivers is an already existing division that focuses specifically on vehicle for hire enforcement. The are citizens and not sworn officers.

At issue are things like insurance, background checks and 24/7 service.

“If they are not regulated there are concerns about safety, ” Fagan said.

Uber and the City of Detroit worked out an agreement to allow Uber to operate for two years.

Uber and City of Orlando staff met this morning to figure out the best way forward. The City is meeting with Mears and other taxi industry leaders later today.

In other cities it’s been reported that Uber pays for the drivers’ violations.  It’s not clear if they are also doing the in Orlando.

Passengers do not face any violation for using Uber.

We’ll keep you posted on any updates

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  1. myurbangen FLnative “to share the use of a motor vehicle” No where does it state it has to be the same motor vehicle every time. 

    Taxis are usually not pre-arranged services, and when they are its done hours in advance, which moves into the “charter service” category. Uber and Lyft operate in the gray area between zero arrangement (spontaneously flagging a cab) and booking more than 30 minutes in advance (charter). Just in case you’re wondering (since they are requested in advance by only 5 to 10 minutes in advance on average), charter service is defined(55.02.1.c) as “that is pre-arranged and pre-sold, which means: booked prior to the arrival of the passenger at the place of origin for the vehicle trip; through reservations which have been received via email, fax or telephone; which have been made at least 30-minutes in advance of the vehicle trip; and are documented in writing; and

    Since its done through an app, no phone call takes place nor does any email or fax communication. Lyft operates on “suggested donations,” and does not require the passenger to pay at the end of the trip.

  2. FLnative Your text above says “to share the use of a motor vehicle on a recurring basis for round-trip transportation”. The way you’re interpreting it every taxi would be exempt. “Wherever you go there you are”.

  3. Bungalower FLnative Then you think wrong. Uber/Lyft drivers tend to work the same area of the city all the time. Someone who frequents that area will see the same drivers. A ride request made through the app that is accepted by the driver is an arrangement by default. The quote you provided (of my own quote…did you think I didn’t read it?) does not explicitly state the arrangement occurs between the same people on a recurring basis, just “between persons”. Lyft/Uber app users have made an “arrangement” between themselves and any drivers in close proximity.

  4. FLnative Umm huge Lyft/Uber fan but “an arrangement between persons with a common destination, or destinations, within the same proximity, to share the use of a motor vehicle on a recurring basis for round-trip transportation to and from their place of employment or other common destination.” 

    Not sure that this would qualify. The driver is not going to work with you…I think.

  5. myurbangen Common destination is proximity based, as per the wording. Any place I stop, and exit the vehicle, is a destination. Reading comprehension.

  6. How do you figure that uber/Lyft qualify? They are not carpooling to a common destination on a recurring basis.

  7. Did some digging in city codes:

    Sec. 55.06. Exemptions.
    The following categories of Vehicles-for-Hire shall be
    exempt from the provisions of this Chapter:
    exclusive ride-sharing vehicles as defined in Florida Statutes §

    relating to Florida Public Transit Act
    assistance program” means financial and technical assistance by the
    department to promote alternatives to the use of automobiles by a
    single commuter. The term includes the following program areas:
    which means an arrangement between persons with a common destination,
    or destinations, within the same proximity, to share the use of a
    motor vehicle on a recurring basis for round-trip transportation to
    and from their place of employment or other common destination. For
    purposes of ridesharing, employment shall be deemed to commence when
    an employee arrives at the employer’s place of employment to report
    for work and shall be deemed to terminate when the employee leaves
    the employer’s place of employment, excluding areas not under the
    control of the employer. However, an employee shall be deemed to be
    within the course of employment when the employee is engaged in the
    performance of duties assigned or directed by the employer, or acting
    in the furtherance of the business of the employer, irrespective of
    Lyft and Uber drivers are operating completely within city ordinance according to the state’s description. I’ll be keeping a copy of these to shove in their face when they try their BS.

  8. People in Orlando! Stand Up & Take this Fight to the Mayor’s Office! 

    I’ve started the petition “City of Orlando and Buddy Dyer and Roger Chapin: City of Orlando To Allow UBER & Lyft: Stop the Fear Mongering!” and need your help to get it off the ground.
    Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now? Here’s the link:

  9. What is the safety concerns Fagan is talking about? Im pretty sure Uber takes care of background checks, insurance and validation of drivers. Sounds like city people wants to piece of pie, but they just got diabetes. Why doesn’t beloved project DTO has nothing to say about it?

  10. Mears has had a lock on the livery business in Orlando for nearly 80 years. Seems like there should be room for some innovation and competition.

  11. The cab companies have a monopoly and they suck. So lets get the City of Orlando and OPD to pass laws that limit competition while at the same time raise revenue. And we’ll call this capitalism. You know what I hate about Orlando, its the corruption is so absolutely visible between government and big business and they honestly believe we’re dumb enough to go along with it. I hope the city official that are came up with and enforcing these dumb law get herpes.

  12. I tried the new mears app and they obviously missed the boat that Uber is more than an app. I waited 10 minutes waiting for a driver to be assigned before I eventually cancelled it.

  13. Well done Orlando! We shouldn’t tolerate bandit cabs just because someone wrote an app to take some of the money.

  14. It’s one thing if it was truly “ride sharing”, but some of these Uber drivers are literally renting vehicles to pick up passengers illegally. I like the idea of Uber and it’s ease of use via a real time app. If everything from limo drivers to pedicabs having to operate with permits, so should Uber drivers. Would people be ok with food trucks operating illegally and not having health inspections?

  15. You do realize there is a difference between Uber and UberX! Do some homework and then decide

  16. I tried to get Uber last Wed night from MCO: no drivers. Took typical cab (I travel for work and have FREQUENTLY gotten a whole lot of attitude from Mears Taxi drivers, mad I’m not going to Disney but driving a shorter and cheaper distance downtown). This time I got a rare nice driver. We talked about Uber and he was so excited for the chance to work there. He said some really bad things about Mears, how poorly they treated him, and how little money he makes (ie: Mears won’t let drivers use Square so they’re forced to use Mears tech, where Mears can track it and pass a fee into the drivers above what the credit card co’s charge). Come on Orlando: get it together and stop sleeping with Mears. I’m sure Uber would be established and light rail from MCO to the city would already be here if you broke up this monopoly.

  17. Such a waste of resources. It creates jobs, gives people security and provides competition to the BS cab industry.

  18. How is Orlando going to become a tech hub if government is hostile to disruptive technology?

  19. This is one of the biggest misuses of government to protect a company. There is no reason why Uber shouldn’t be permitted to operate in Orlando or anywhere in Florida. Mear’s spent big money lobbying against Uber in Tallahassee and I’m sure they are doing the same here.

  20. That’s pathetic. Look at the success Uber has had in other markets. Does Orlando really want to be the one fighting an innovative tech company while trying to lure more tech companies into the city? Let’s look at the big picture and stop with the petty fines and towing.