The Orlando City Council discussed some potential changes to the vehicles-for-hire regulations that would make it easier for companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in the City of Orlando.

At a City Council workshop this morning Assistant City Attorney Jody Litchford presented some possible changes.

The idea is to either create a new category of vehicles-for hire or reduce the requirements under the luxury/limo passenger category that allows for smaller vehicles. Additionally there would be the following changes:

  • The background checks could be done by the company and don’t have to be done by the City, but the City would require proof of the background check.
  • Continue to require vehicle inspection but companies with more than 25 vehicles can do it themselves through an ASC certified mechanics.
  • Allow advance bookings via an app or require no advance booking.
  • Prohibit discrimination in service (including geography) with the possibility of auditing.
  • Reduce minimum fare from $35. This could either reduce or eliminate the minimum fare for all vehicles for hire or just a reduction for non-luxury vehicles.

In addition Litchford brought forward some changes that came out of their community conversations:

  • Remove requirement of posting rates outside the vehicle
  • Remove restrictions on hailing taxis or remove requirement of top light on taxis
  • Require all companies to have a local office to process the return of lost property and receipt of complaints
  • Increase penalties to $500 per permit (currently $200 for first $400 for second)

Most of the Commissioners said they were frustrated that Uber and Lyft are continuing to operate in the City illegally.

The biggest sticking point in the new category will most likely be the minimum fare.

Lyft and Uber both currently have a $4 minimum in Orlando. Lyft does allow you to pay less if you change it on the app.

A Lyft spokesperson told us last week that the minimum ride fare doesn’t benefit consumer safety.

Commissioner Sam Ings made it very clear that he didn’t want to reduce the minimum fare saying “It’s about opportunity to operate and make a profit.” In terms of making any changes he said “I don’t think we need to bend over backwards.”

A large part of the conversation also centered around airport pickups. The airport currently charges taxis $3.50 per vehicle plus time to wait. The airport estimates that to be about $5.80 for each Uber and Lyft vehicle.

The possible changes were presented during a workshop, but any specific changes would still need to brought to City Council. A second work session is scheduled for late October to help draft any ordinance changes.

“We are looking forward and hopeful that we will be able to have operating agreements or something similar in the near future,” Katie Dally a Lyft spokesperson told Bungalower.

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  1. thom desoto Each taxi (the vehicle) pays $500 for the first year and $300 for renewal after that. The driver only pays $25 for their permit. This money is not going to build or maintain roads. Additionally Uber and Lyft allow people to go carless or have one less car…which means less traffic and less road maintenance and less parking needs downtown. That would be like trying to get Lynx to pay for their road usage.

    Uber and Lyft have offered to pay permitting fees, but right now they would be denied the permit…they do in other cities. The only other money collected is by the Airport. Because they City won’t permit them under the current ordinance they can’t pay the airport fees as they do in other cities.

  2. Taxis are regulated. Taxi companies pay fees to be regulated. These regulatory fees are used to maintain upkeep on roads, traffic lights, etc. It’s the cost of doing business. Roads, traffic lights, etc., are what allow businesses like taxis, Uber, and Lyft to actually, you know, do their business. Taxi services thus pay into the city so that they can do their business. Is Uber or Lyft doing so? It’d appear no.

  3. Friends! compares the two most popular ride-sharing services. $30, $25 of FREE ride credit for new passengers and up to a $500 sign-up BONUS for new drivers!! Drivers can make as much as $40/hr! Hope you can see what all the hype is about 🙂 Thanks!!

  4. I used Uber Saturday night with 3 friends and it was great! We waited less than five minutes for both rides, both cars were newer and clean, and both drivers very polite.

  5. Commissioner Sam Ings was very honest when he said the $35 minimum payment for limo/luxury cars is to provide limo companies with the “opportunity to operate and make a profit.” It has nothing to do with the public good. The City Council has no place in helping for-profit companies make higher profits.

  6. Taxis have no minimum. The $35 minimum applies to Limos and Town Cars. Though I don’t see why any has a city imposed minimum price.

  7. So you are telling me that for all those traditional taxis lined up downtown on weekend nights waiting to take people home, you have to pay them $35 even if you only go a few miles? Are you serious? I have never taken a taxi so I don’t know. I do take Uber/Lyft on a regular basis from my condo in Lake Eola Heights to the Central Business District, Mills50, or Ivanhoe Village, and then back home later. It is only $4-8 each way. It is great having a personal driver and not having to worry about parking issues or driving drunk. Why does the Mears app give me a quote for well under $10? It doesn’t state any minimum.

  8. The luxury/limo category of vehicles have a minimum fare of $35. The proposal put Lyft and Uber more in line with them. Which is probably more accurate since taxis focus on the meter and posting rates, etc.

  9. Is that correct where it says taxis have a minimum $35 fare? That can’t be right. Uber and Lyft are $4.

  10. And they are all properly licensed – city and airport, etc.. Have background checks on each driver including their driving record. That would be a start!

  11. They are currently working within the city limits and at the airport without the necessary licenses. These cars may have bald tires, recalled items, and be a cylinder down – you have no idea! Until someone gets hurt, everyone is fine with getting in a car that isn’t inspected or kept up to standards with a person they don’t know! It reminds me of the pedi-cabs – no one thought anything of it until a client was attacked! I compare this to a modern day hitchhiking! It scares me!

  12. True competition only exists if everyone is playing on a level field. That is the City Councils job! Not give their opinion, but make sure everyone has the same licenses to work within the City!