City of Sarasota deregulates Uber and other taxi services

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Uber vehicles, as well as other taxi services, will no longer be regulated by the city of Sarasota. Though city commissioners fought fiercely to regulate insurance rates and car inspections for Uber vehicles, supporters of the service piled into City Hall and swayed the vote to be unanimously in their favor.

Prior to the meeting, which took place on Sept. 8, the commissioners took a very different stance on Uber. For months they had attempted to regulate Uber just as they had been regulating other taxi services.

“[We would] address criminal history and driver backgrounds, transportation rates, vehicle inspections and insurance,” Parking Manager Mark Lyons said.

Lyons noted that the insurance company used by Uber is not an acceptable service under the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association.

Despite all of these perceived flaws, customers on campus have little complaints. Second-year Alexis Pujol, who began using Uber in New York last January, praised the company for its ease of service and cheap fares. Though she has yet to use the service here in Sarasota, if given the choice between a regular taxi service and an Uber taxi, Pujol said she would choose Uber.

Eva Cross, a third-year student, used Uber for the first time earlier this month. Speaking specifically about the Sarasota driver, she said, “they wanted to get to know us, unlike a taxi, which feels so hostile…[and] it was so much easier because you can put your card info into the app and then you’re good to go.”

Whether deregulation was the right move, or a dangerous one, Cross ended on an important note. “I wouldn’t get in without someone with me.”

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