County cracks down on Uber, Lyft drivers - FOX 13 News

County cracks down on Uber, Lyft drivers

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TAMPA (FOX 13) - Uber driver Joe Morgan's app went off on Friday afternoon -- someone needed a ride.

"The guy was really nice, he jumped in my car," Morgan said. "We talked about Uber, driving for Uber, I drop him off at the Aquarium -- and they were waiting on me."

"They" is the Public Transportation Commission. They wrote 32 tickets to eight people during their sting.

"These drivers are coming from everywhere," said Kyle Cockream of the Public Transportation Commission of Hillsborough County.

The tickets were for no license to drive a public vehicle, improper insurance for commercial use and no Hillsborough County taxi permit.

Morgan alone got $800 in fines.

"Who cares? Uber is going to pay the ticket, it was just like, whatever," he said.

The PTC does care, especially because Lyft and Uber have not agreed to require their drivers to get the same public vehicle driver license that local taxi drivers get.

That process requires fingerprinting through the FBI.

"I don't want USA Today's front page tomorrow, to be, woman, family, kid, person kidnapped, in Hillsborough County, Florida," Cockream said.

In the last month, meetings have been held between Lyft, Uber and the PTC in hopes of striking a deal on permit requirements.

"We are all going to have to find a place for them in the industry," Cockream said.

But Uber blasted today's PTC sting, saying "We're disappointed that after productive discussions... they've decided to use scare tactics... rather than engage... in a collaborative process."

Uber and Lyft still insist that the way rides are arranged and money is transferred mean they're not taxis, and are allowed to operate outside those rules.

"You're giving a friend a ride," said Morgan. It's someone else with the app.You're giving a friend a ride."

Lyft and Uber insist their background checks are sufficient to keep dangerous people off the roads.

But the PTC says only one of the companies would explain their background process, and the PTC says it was still far below their standards.

The PTC also says that repeat offenders could be arrested.

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