Do not expect to take an Uber vehicle in Fort Lauderdale anytime soon. Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, and taxi drivers in the city could soon face fines up to $15,000 if they are caught driving without the right license. Those fines could effectively drive Uber out of the resort town.
Broward County Commissioners have voted six-to-three to impose fines up to 30 times normal for network transportation drivers caught operating without a county license, The Sun-Sentinel reported. Fort Lauderdale is located in Broward County.
Currently, drivers without a permit face fines of $250 for the first offense and $500 for the second offense in Broward County. Under the new regime, drivers would pay $1,000 for the third offense, $5,000 for the fourth offense, and $15,000 for any subsequent offenses.
The fines are directly squarely at Uber, which already owes Broward County $35,000 in unpaid fines, The Sun-Sentinel reported. The service got the fines because its drivers were operating without county chauffeur’s licenses. To get such a license, a person must submit to a fingerprint-based national background check and have 24/7 commercial auto insurance.
Uber and Lyft were still operating in Broward County as of May 12, The Sun-Sentinel reported. According to the newspaper, Uber has 2,000 drivers in the popular vacation destination north of Miami.
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The commissioners also increased the fee Uber would have to pay to operate in Broward County. The Sun-Sentinel reported that Uber would have to pay the county $160,000 to keep operating.
Uber Gets run out of Town Again
Those fees could effectively force Uber out of Broward County, company spokesman Bill Gibbons told The Sun Sentinel.
“We cannot operate in Broward County if such onerous regulations are enforced,” Gibbons admitted.
The regulations will not go into effect until the commissioners hold a second vote on them on June 9. If the regulations are upheld, Uber will have to start obeying the regulations or close up shop and leave town on June 23, Leonard Vialpando, the director of the Broward County division of environmental licensing and building permitting, said.
It looks as if Uber is about to get run out of yet another U.S. city. One has to wonder how this company can survive if it can’t follow regulations or pay a $160,000 fee to operate in a community.
If Uber were really as profitable as its fans claim, it should have no trouble forking over $160,000 to operate in a potentially lucrative market such as Fort Lauderdale. Something is very wrong when a company that claims to be worth $40 billion cannot pay a $160,000 fee.
The Sun-Sentinel didn’t say how the regulations would affect Lyft, but it too would presumably have to leave Fort Lauderdale if they went into effect. It looks as if the days of networked transportation companies are numbered.