Uber Staying in Orlando But…

A couple months ago, the city of Orlando decided to take on Uber and Lyft, seeing the ride-sharing services as a threat to the existing taxi services. The city said it was all about safety but of course, it was really all about money. Orlando has now issued final regulations, effective February 1, that may have a far reaching impact for other cities.


First, the city reduced the permit fee from $500 to $250. This applies to everyone, Uber and Lyft as well as taxi drivers. Background checks also were an issue. The city council agreed that a third party can perform this task. For some reason, a sticking point is that the city is asking for the names of the ride-sharing drivers but Uber says no. This seems a bit strange since the drivers will be required to have a permit and background check. In other words, the names of the drivers should already be known to the city.

Regardless, there was no greater fight than the regulation requiring Uber and Lyft to charge more than the taxi services. As I said before, there is no way this will be accepted. Well, the city backed down on this issue but still requires that the self-described tech companies must charge at least as much as the existing taxi fares.

Can the ride-sharing services survive with these rules? They certainly won’t like them but yes, they will still do very well for a few reasons, including:

  • Ease of their services. A request is as simple as using an app vs calling a taxi company.
  • You know when your driver will arrive.
  • They accept credit cards and your trip is prepaid.
  • Few drivers also receive tips.
  • It is not an ugly taxi.

With a valuation now of $40 billion, Uber is not going away. On the contrary, a new $600 million investment by a Chinese firm means Uber will be looking to expand worldwide.

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  1. Uber has proven that “regulatory capture” is alive and well. Government imposed fares are wrong. The taxi industry on the whole is low service and high prices. However, I do wish Uber would deal more respectfully to stakeholders as some of the concerns are legitimate. Background checks are necessary when drivers have been accused of rape, murder, and not having enough insurance. Surge pricing is ok, but there is a point where it is gouging (i.e. Sydney).

    I’m a regular Uber user because the service is superior to regular cabs and the pricing is a great value in most cities (unless its surge pricing). For a company with so much money, it really bothers me how combative they are to the media, their customers, and their drivers. There is a serious culture problem at Uber.

    I wish they would add a live meter so I could see cost as I ride. I wish they would add an option like Lyft to add a tip for a good driver. I wish they were more transparent about background checks, insurance requirements, and the legitimate safety questions.

    But being better than a regular taxi will still keep me coming back…

  2. What’s to stop them from matching the rates on paper, but offering “promotions” that will effectively reduce the cost?

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