Home' South Florida Gay News : SFGN 071515 Contents 16 // 7.15.2015 // SFGN.com //
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The Broward County Commissioners probably had no
idea their restrictions against ridesharing services like Uber
would spark a grassroots backlash against them. In response
an online petition was started, garnering more than 75,000
signatures, and Uber announced they were suspending their
operations in the county on July 31.
And that’s when all hell broke loose — to say the least.
SFGN reached out to several gay drivers and riders to get
their opinions of the restrictions set forth by the commission
and Uber’s decision to pull out of the
“I am upset with Uber for caving in
to Broward County. They should stand
up and fight this nonsense,” said Kevin
Harris, a frequent Uber user. “I am
disappointed with them.”
All nine of the commissioners voted
for the new transportation network
company law, which legalizes Uber’s
business model, but also forces
drivers to obtain county chauffeur
registrations. The commission also put
other restrictions in place including
level II background checks, additional
fines, and gave the county attorney the
authorization to go after TNCs by any
legal means necessary (see graph).
Oakland Park resident and Uber
driver Bob Darrow has already gotten
his chauffeur license, but said it was a
pain in the ass to do so.
“The bureaucracy is incredible. It took me two months
to get it,” Darrow said. “I was at the office for 4 hours. I can’t
imagine what will happen when 2,000 people descend upon
the county offices.”
For now the regulations will be here to stay – at least until
the commission comes back from recess in September.
Public safety was a common theme of the commission
on why they were placing these restrictions on Uber and
other ridesharing companies. Uber though called the new
regulations “onerous,” and is pulling out of the county.
Meanwhile many Uber supporters, including riders and
drivers, cite these reasons for using Uber: safety, cleanliness,
convenient, and inexpensive.
“Broward County officials implemented
one of the most onerous regulatory
frameworks for ridesharing in the nation,”
Uber said in a written statement. “We
have no choice but to suspend operations
on July 31. We hope the Board of County
Commissioners will revisit the issue when
they return from break and work with us
to bring Uber back to Broward."
Since Uber pulled out another
ridesharing service, Lyft, announced they
will suspend operations in Broward on July
31 as well.
“[The commission] is throwing every
roadblock they can think of to keep Uber
from operating in this county,” Harris said.
As for the safety concerns, Harris
shrugs them off. They were not the reason
why Harris decided to switch to Uber in
the first place. Instead it was several bad
experiences with taxis that prompted him
to stop using taxis.
“I have pre ordered a taxi the day before and they still show
up an hour late,” he said. “Every single time I have ordered
Uber they are at my pick up location within 5-7 minutes. They
are never late.”
Even more enticing though is the price — usually an Uber
ride is less expensive than a traditional cab.
However, argues Lori Lyons, a member of the community,
who is the marketing director for Yellow Cab, “This is not a gay
and lesbian issue. It is a public safety issue. No one is trying to
kick Uber out of Broward County. They were approved on April
28. If they leave, it’s on them. We are simply asking that they
abide by the rules. We want an even playing field. People need
to know that regulation is necessary and proper to protect the
Daniel Sohn, an openly gay candidate for Dania Beach
mayor, also agrees with the commission’s decision to regulate
Uber, and other TNCs.
“As a candidate who believes in safety I side with the county
commission on their decision,” he said.
Ever since the county’s decision Sohn has been hearing
from angry constituents upset with the county, but he’s urging
them to instead express their frustration directly to Uber.
“Uber is a billion dollar company, they just don’t want to
accept the regulations,” he said. “If Uber hears from all of their
users ‘you’re the reason why I can’t get to work,’ that might
persuade them to make the right decision.”
For Sohn the right decision would be for Uber to accept
the county’s regulations in order to keep their drivers and
But even Sohn has changed his mind after learning more
information. Initially he felt the level II background checks
were appropriate. Now he says a level I background would be
Another openly gay politician, Scott Herman, however
disagrees with the commission.
“Broward County Commissioners should not be out to help
create a monopoly with taxi services,” he said. “They should
be pro jobs, pro community, pro less bureaucracy, pro less red
tape and pro business. I believe the county commission was
Transportation Network Company
law legalizes Uber's business model
and allows an unlimited numbers
of vehicles and unrestricted fares.
Also requires drivers to obtain
county chauffeur registrations.
Background checks/Car Inspections
Requires all drivers-for-hire, including for Uber
or traditional cabs, to undergo Level II national
criminal background checks by FBI, and submit
fingerprints. Also requires vehicles to be inspected
by a third-party, county-approved mechanic, and
setts higher standards for vehicles.
Increasing fines for violators of new
motor carrier/driver-for-hire laws.
Old fines were as follows $250 for
first offense and $500 for second.
New fines are $750 for third offense,
$1,000 for fourth.
attorney to use legal
means to ensure
companies are following
Gay drivers, riders and readers react to decision to leave Broward County
Barbara Stacy Lois
Mark Dale V.C. Beam Marty Chip
Tim Ryan Sharief Ritter Wexler Bogen Holness Furr Kiar Lamarca
“I am upset with
Uber for caving in to
- Kevin Harris
“No one is [kicking]
Uber out. We simply
want an even
- Lori lyons
marketing Director of
An Uber Controversy
Photos: Uber Facebook.
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