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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Notice is hereby given that the Honorable Matt Schellenberg, Chair of the Special Committee on Vehicles for Hire, will meet with the Special Committee on Vehicles for Hire members on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 12:00pm, in the Lynwood Roberts Room, 1st Floor, 117 West Duval Street. Jacksonville, Florida, 32202.

12:00 p.m.
City Hall
117 W. Duval St., 1st Floor
Lynwood Roberts Room

If you have any questions, please contact Katrin MacDonald, Legislative Assistant at (904) 630-1404.
The time of this meeting has been changed to 12:00 p.m.
Please mark your calendar accordingly. All interested parties are invited to attend.

More information on AMENDED-City Council Vehicles for Hire Special Committee
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well I didn't go, but the Jacksonville Business journal reports that the city will be pursuing enforcement actions going forward to include Booting Uber Drivers Cars. Uber apparently pays the minimal fees that the city imposes on drivers, so the city feel that the only way they can deter drivers is by booting their cars. That would suck. There is mention of the upcoming decision by the state to regulate, and that will have an effect on their actions, but as of right now, it is still unknown what the state will do.

http://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonv...e-an-uber-driver-you-could-have-your-car.html
http://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonv...asenate-seeks-insurance-requirements-for.html
 

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I am certainly newer to this Uber portion, but I have known for a long time how well connected the Cab companies are in Jax. These companies are a threat to an established way of life... Blah blah. No disparity to cab drivers, but in Jacksonville they are insanely expensive, the wait time is forever, no service to outlier areas, etc.

Not looking to get shot in the head, but why does Uber have insurance if it isn't good enough to register with the city? Yes, inspections are fine, yeah... Duval needs the money, and like their fines and fees. The vehemence against Uber et al is very high at a time when really they should be learning how to BEST capitalize on the trend. People are moving safely about the city spending money, not driving plastered... Jacksonville resists change so much and so hard it keeps the city back. Some like that because it suits their interests, sadly.

The only good I see to becoming completely up to snuff for the city is that it then might allow me to get my own clientele at better rates than now offered via Uber (to me). Yes it takes book keeping, logistical ability and some other details that any business would have. Not getting into minutia of credit card processing(easy these days) and those things. But this article made me stop and think that I CAN offer a better service to several people without the Uber hassle. ...
Hmmm, legitimate thoughts anyone?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Bottom line is that the city requires certain protections for its citizens and the Uber insurance does not cover the public as it should. For example, in period 1, when the driver is cruising with the app on without a ride, waiting for a ping: Uber expects drivers to use their own personal insurance for those types of losses. If you read the legislation that is being proposed in HB509 in front of the Florida Senate right now you will see that Uber specifically states that they won't cover drivers during this period and any personal insurance policy will exclude drivers that are operating in a commercial manner... So there are issues that need to be addressed.. it's not about Uber hate.. it's about fairness, and protections and earning a living wage.
 

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I did some research. Yes I agree that the city wants to keep people safe. There is no harm in that.
Commercial insurance that allows you to work for Rideshare is still steep. I got some quotes today. I like to be legal. Seems in the end it might be for the greater good, but I doubt I could make as much as the premium without being a slave to the machine at the rates currently offered by Uber. I can see other benefits to having it though, so am not against it. It just isn't really talked about much in the Uber hype of driving for them. And it would make too much sense for Uber to raise their liability limits to meet what the city says a driver should have as part of doing business for them in town.. Not even going there. I promise. This isn't an anti anyone rant. It's more about viable answers to making this a workable solution. That gets hard to do with a lot of the negativity I see on the boards. Some for good reason.

If the city were to begin truly cracking down, the driver pool would be reduced significantly. That isn't good for the company's current goals. It may temporarily be good for those legal drivers though?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If you look closely enough at the legislation that is being called up today in the Florida Senate (HB 509), it’s pretty clear that it was written by Uber's lobbyists. The legislation places minimal restrictions on Uber at the State level and prohibits individual municipalities from imposing their own regulations, except for the Airport Authorities, as they get to impose greater restrictions because Airports can charge Uber money for access to the airport traffic. What this legislation does is legalize Uber X, UberXL, Lyft & Lyft Plus provided that Uber and Lyft get the drivers special TNC permits to drive their own personal cars.

What this legislation does not do however is address the thousands of Florida small business owners who currently operate legally in the State of Florida as Licensed Vehicles for Hire.
These companies operate commercially insured, city inspected & permitted Vehicles for Hire. Locally these companies have hundreds of cars & drivers who work full time to support their families. They have been operating in Jacksonville for years providing Black Car service to local business executives, tourists, and of course, many of the politicians voting on this legislation.

Originally Uber was going to support our local business owners, they approached the Florida City council in 2013 and the Jax Vehicle for Hire Ordinance was changed to accommodate Uber and Uber was essentially added as an additional dispatch service for the Licensed Vehicle for Hire Companies in Jax. UberBlack was created. Not all the companies signed on with Uber, but many of them did. Uber had an exceptional service here, UberBlack was providing great service, drivers were making a living wage and residents of Jacksonville benefited from the partnership between Uber and Jax's small business owners. The Vehicle For-Hire companies were buying more & more vehicles and were hiring more & more drivers, Uber was providing a great service to the folks in Jax and the fares were cheaper than our local taxi rates. It was a win win for the Vehicle for Hire Industry in Jax, everyone was following the rules, paying the fees, local companies were partnering with the TNC’s and everyone was winning.

Then Lyft came to town. They started operating an illegal “gypsy” cab service with folks in their personal cars driving around passengers and accepting “donations” for payment. Lyft hired part time drivers, they cut the rates drastically and allowed regular folks to drive their own vehicles, without inspections, without permits & without commercial insurance to carry passengers around our city. Jacksonville, and other municipalities around the state allowed Lyft to illegally enter the Vehicle for Hire market and they did not enforce the law. Uber had invested in the Vehicle for Hire industry here in Jax, they were growing leaps and bounds, and Lyft came into Jax and threatened all of it with their illegal “*********” service model at drastically reduced rates. Uber had no choice but to create the UberX product and release it immediately in Jacksonville to protect it’s market share in Jax. Uber released Uber X simultaneously all over the U.S. in response to Lyft’s attempt to illegally piggy back on Uber’s success.

Today, a year and a half later, UberX & Lyft have driven the fares/rates for UberX & Lyft down so low that in order to compete, Uber has drastically cut the rates for the UberBlack service and local Vehicle for Hire companies have had to do the same to stay competitive. Since Lyft entered the market, It has been a steady race to the bottom in terms of rates, wages, and now service as most good drivers are leaving because they can no longer earn a living wage.

The Black Car Drivers in the Vehicle for Hire industry provide exceptional customer service. These are not sub-standard taxi’s. Local companies hire professional men and women who are licensed Chauffeurs, they drive modern-exceptionally clean and comfortable sedans and SUV’s. These drivers were once able to earn a living wage and provide for their families. But not anymore. Fares have been slashed, wages have been slashed, and small business owners in Jax and around the state are no longer able to compete.

The Florida Legislature and the Jacksonville City Council is allowing these legitimate Florida-Small business owners to be run out of business by these slick San Francisco based Tech companies and it is not at all in keeping with the “Business” friendly reputation that Florida strives to maintain. The size of these companies should not matter, these are Legal entities, and the Florida Legislature and the Jacksonville City Council are abandoning these local business owners by not enforcing the laws on the books, by not regulating UberX & Lyft and forcing them to pay the same costs, pass the same tests and compete with the Legal business owners in Jax. By granting an unfair advantage to these billion dollar tech companies they are allowing them to steamroll over the local Vehicle for Hire economy and professional men and women who have followed the rules and built these businesses to support their families are not only being disrupted, they are being sacrificed on the alter of progress and it is shameful. If the legislature and the Jax City Council had stepped in immediately and done what other cities like New York have done; Allowed only the UberBlack service to operate in Jax, we would have the finest fleet of Uber cars in the industry in Jacksonville, our residents would be getting great service at exceptional savings, the drivers would be earning a living wage and Jax would be a shining example of how Small Business Owners, government and the tech giants can work together for progress.
 

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If you look closely enough at the legislation that is being called up today in the Florida Senate (HB 509), it's pretty clear that it was written by Uber's lobbyists. The legislation places minimal restrictions on Uber at the State level and prohibits individual municipalities from imposing their own regulations, except for the Airport Authorities, as they get to impose greater restrictions because Airports can charge Uber money for access to the airport traffic. What this legislation does is legalize Uber X, UberXL, Lyft & Lyft Plus provided that Uber and Lyft get the drivers special TNC permits to drive their own personal cars.

What this legislation does not do however is address the thousands of Florida small business owners who currently operate legally in the State of Florida as Licensed Vehicles for Hire.
These companies operate commercially insured, city inspected & permitted Vehicles for Hire. Locally these companies have hundreds of cars & drivers who work full time to support their families. They have been operating in Jacksonville for years providing Black Car service to local business executives, tourists, and of course, many of the politicians voting on this legislation.

Originally Uber was going to support our local business owners, they approached the Florida City council in 2013 and the Jax Vehicle for Hire Ordinance was changed to accommodate Uber and Uber was essentially added as an additional dispatch service for the Licensed Vehicle for Hire Companies in Jax. UberBlack was created. Not all the companies signed on with Uber, but many of them did. Uber had an exceptional service here, UberBlack was providing great service, drivers were making a living wage and residents of Jacksonville benefited from the partnership between Uber and Jax's small business owners. The Vehicle For-Hire companies were buying more & more vehicles and were hiring more & more drivers, Uber was providing a great service to the folks in Jax and the fares were cheaper than our local taxi rates. It was a win win for the Vehicle for Hire Industry in Jax, everyone was following the rules, paying the fees, local companies were partnering with the TNC's and everyone was winning.

Then Lyft came to town. They started operating an illegal "gypsy" cab service with folks in their personal cars driving around passengers and accepting "donations" for payment. Lyft hired part time drivers, they cut the rates drastically and allowed regular folks to drive their own vehicles, without inspections, without permits & without commercial insurance to carry passengers around our city. Jacksonville, and other municipalities around the state allowed Lyft to illegally enter the Vehicle for Hire market and they did not enforce the law. Uber had invested in the Vehicle for Hire industry here in Jax, they were growing leaps and bounds, and Lyft came into Jax and threatened all of it with their illegal "*********" service model at drastically reduced rates. Uber had no choice but to create the UberX product and release it immediately in Jacksonville to protect it's market share in Jax. Uber released Uber X simultaneously all over the U.S. in response to Lyft's attempt to illegally piggy back on Uber's success.

Today, a year and a half later, UberX & Lyft have driven the fares/rates for UberX & Lyft down so low that in order to compete, Uber has drastically cut the rates for the UberBlack service and local Vehicle for Hire companies have had to do the same to stay competitive. Since Lyft entered the market, It has been a steady race to the bottom in terms of rates, wages, and now service as most good drivers are leaving because they can no longer earn a living wage.

The Black Car Drivers in the Vehicle for Hire industry provide exceptional customer service. These are not sub-standard taxi's. Local companies hire professional men and women who are licensed Chauffeurs, they drive modern-exceptionally clean and comfortable sedans and SUV's. These drivers were once able to earn a living wage and provide for their families. But not anymore. Fares have been slashed, wages have been slashed, and small business owners in Jax and around the state are no longer able to compete.

The Florida Legislature and the Jacksonville City Council is allowing these legitimate Florida-Small business owners to be run out of business by these slick San Francisco based Tech companies and it is not at all in keeping with the "Business" friendly reputation that Florida strives to maintain. The size of these companies should not matter, these are Legal entities, and the Florida Legislature and the Jacksonville City Council are abandoning these local business owners by not enforcing the laws on the books, by not regulating UberX & Lyft and forcing them to pay the same costs, pass the same tests and compete with the Legal business owners in Jax. By granting an unfair advantage to these billion dollar tech companies they are allowing them to steamroll over the local Vehicle for Hire economy and professional men and women who have followed the rules and built these businesses to support their families are not only being disrupted, they are being sacrificed on the alter of progress and it is shameful. If the legislature and the Jax City Council had stepped in immediately and done what other cities like New York have done; Allowed only the UberBlack service to operate in Jax, we would have the finest fleet of Uber cars in the industry in Jacksonville, our residents would be getting great service at exceptional savings, the drivers would be earning a living wage and Jax would be a shining example of how Small Business Owners, government and the tech giants can work together for progress.
Are you referring to this Uber?
During fight with city Uber sought executive order from Governor Cuomo.
"Uber's impressive political operation doesn't just lobby, advertise and cajole. It also proposes gubernatorial directives."
http://www.capitalnewyork.com/artic...-fight-city-uber-sought-executive-order-cuomo
 

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That was an amazing and well written post. I feel in some ways like I should apologize. I didn't know the entire history of events, but now I feel like I do. I actually understand the perspective of VFH drivers of quality and what is happening. I did to a degree before, of course. Cutthroat business models is a sad but unfortunate way of things. Understanding that a customer is king regardless of their income level is a byproduct.
I was never familiar with Lyft, particularly but in the last few days have seen that they allowed younger drivers and older vehicles. Their promotion of the folksy thing as part of their business model seemed interesting and in many areas probably held a great deal of appeal.

What seems missing in ALL of this is actually the protection of the drivers in anyway shape or form, even from Lyft, which by all accounts seems a tad more driver friendly, in the end it still comes down to profits for the company. None of these are co-ops. They are not driver owned. With the ability to churn through unknowing and not well screened drivers, they have an unlimited pool until capitulation by the drivers themselves decide it's a racket, and I don't see that happening in the near term.

I do not own a beater. I come from a high end customer service background. I support some sort of real industry standard that a customer wants and is willing to pay for. That... Seems to be the crux of this issue. Perhaps Uber and Lyft have made ride hailing more accessible to people who otherwise would never call or have car service, but may have taken a very expensive yellow. And I have had passengers that make me say that...I am not a class warfare person. I have picked up so e rides in very low income areas and driven them through a process of picking up their pizza and stopping for half an hour at Dollar General. I was too polite and worried about a rating to end the ride. And yes, ended up doing it for less than seven dollars. I am not complaining, I use it for total analysis of this Rideshare phenomena as it applies to Jacksonville, specifically at this point. We may be making transit more readily available in area with poor public transportation alternatives., but at a cost to ourselves. With customers like that... A lower quality driver will be the one that stays and that makes them just about gypsy cabs to me. Yes.

Asking Uber/Lyft to consider its drivers well being financially and not compete ruthlessly for market share is a daunting task. They make the same amount of money on my ride through the hood as they would on any other ride, so I doubt they care.
And politicians are not going to either.

And have you heard of a startup called Arcade City that seems it might be a viable software platform for completely legit, black car drivers? It seems to want to harness P2P in a way that Uber Black did in it's original model but without a handling fee? It may end up corrupted by substandard drivers, but I think that of they keep strict rules for being members of the service and have the right advertising model (will definitely bash both cabs and poor RS experiences and shoot the gap, I suspect) it may be great.
 

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Seperate post: my insurance carrier covers Rideshare and using my vehicle for whatever purpose including commerce I want. I have it in writing. and my limits meet the same guidelines as the city requires but because it is not defined solely as commercial insurance I wonder if Jax will accept it. I am going to ask them tomorrow. I have zero problems with inspections and licensing, background check, etc. I wish there were a way to differentiate an up to snuff or special perks like Military Base access on the drivers. Uber did this big Military Partner recruitment. I found out from my insurance company website actually. It was interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well you can call Guy Smith with the City on Friday, 904) 630-0814 or 904) 237-1017 I'm sure he's going to tell you No. It's the legal department that checks the insurance, but its all the same, must be commercial. I am curious as to how your "policy" refers to the coverage in period 1. Perhaps you could post the language here or explain it further. Period 1 is the most concerning for rideshare drivers again because all personal automobile policies prohibit using the vehicle for "hire" and when a driver is in between rides, just cruising Uber expects the driver's policy to cover it. If you've got something different, it would be very helpful for others to know what that is. Thanks so much. Mrs.UberJax
 

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I will endeavor tomorrow morning to get the verbiage up. After extensive conversation with the Florida policy rep at USAA and a lot of discussion over that period, USAA covers everything up to when you accept the ride. They were explicit that Uber insurance (or other TNC) starts they drop off. Then pick back up,when the ride is over. The ap can stay on at all times, etc., no having to be shady and worrying.

When final legislation is passed determining whether we will need actual gap, as per what you had above seems likely, then they will issue a gap rider for approximately 12 bucks a month based on my insurance coverage. USAA is actually where I saw the article about the Uber military recruitment thing they were doing. USAA was pretty swift in allowing Rideshare, they went by demand in geographical area and added the gap in states that had legislation. I have always loved them as an insurance company, and today confirmed it. Again, this is only good in the case of working with a TNC, so commercial insurance for private passengers and the like makes absolute sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

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Yes. It does not however it would seem, solve the problem for people that want to use their own personal transport in the spirit of Uber and Lyft and do everything else in order to get the medallion and be legal for working for them. It goes back to if I have this (USAA) and the Uber insurance and work exclusively for them (no cheating) and get all the other requirements taken care of including rigorous inspections, I am still violating the law because the car does not have a medallion. There needs to be a happy medium. It isn't a significant difference in premium costs from state minimums to the city's requirements and Uber's insurance technically is enough. Perhaps requiring all Rideshare vehicles to raise their limits and require inspections would discourage some of the problem drivers and tighten standards?
 

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Good afternoon! I just got off the phone with Guy and he was extremely helpful and knowledgable. Shorter portion of this: has anyone ever seen or been given a copy of not just the certificate, but the policy information for Uber? He said they will not supply it, for one thing. There is. Ore to follow, but I am having a little trouble with this information.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Well Darlin, that is a hoot!..LOL... Guy is the nicest guy you are correct. I think I mentioned to you in an earlier post that Uber was once totally legal in Jax and that Black Cars are legal. In fact there was a law passed here in Jax to specifically make UberBlack Legal. Then and now, Black Cars are required to have commercial insurance. The Legal Department of the City are the folks that are required to review all insurance. Regardless, the policy is everywhere online.. the conditions are everywhere online. If anyone wanted to find it, I believe they could.

In fact, Here is a link to a certificate of insurance that I found online with a few clicks: https://uber-regulatory-documents.s3.amazonaws.com/insurance/COIs/CA.pdf

And here is the page that Uber has drivers refer to the insurance... https://newsroom.uber.com/insurance-for-uberx-with-ridesharing/

Here is a link for certificates of insurance for every state:
https://newsroom.uber.com/certificates-of-insurance-u-s-ridesharing/

As much as Guy would review it, again, it's the legal department that would have to issue an approval. I don't know if you follow twitter, but right now, A drivers right group, https://www.twitter.com/DriverAlliance is forging a twitter campaign against HB-509 and the proposed insurance requirements of the bill. If you were to follow that link you would find some interesting information about the proposed insurance. The state has tried to rewrite this law to accommodate their insurance and according to insurance experts again, it leaves a gaping hole for Period 1.

Talk to you soon. It's a real pleasure actually having a coherent conversation with someone and not having all the bullhockey back and forth negativity.. LOL, have a good night.. driving my butt off. Mrs.UberJax
 

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Good evening!
Yes, Guy said that legal would undoubtedly not approve me because that certificate, which they actually give to drivers to keep on file, it's in our profile, is not enough. It seems the city is concerned about the wording of the policy, and he was adamant that Uber wouldn't provide the actual policy details. If they would it would save a lot of headaches for people like me at least! :) willing do go through everything else to meets the city's guidelines. And again, I carry the same limits as you do commercially, which may not be standard, it is certainly higher than the usually of people buying state minimums. And thanks to USAA, I am covered while cyber cruising for my fare. With collision.

He mentioned an interesting case that is in current litigation because an on ride UberX Hit an off duty UberBlack and Uber isn't paying. Do you know of this case? If the million dollar policy isn't worth the paper it (cannot be found) written on...
He also mentioned that they seemed particular because the insurance is issued to Rasier and not to "Uber" but that one didn't quite make sense to me.

I put in an email to Rideshare Guy because he seems to have the ability to get a real person at Uber more thanks to his blog status.

Call me crazy, but I would love to help find a bridge between the city medallion system and quality drivers and cars, because we all know UberX isn't going away, so it needs to be safe, clean and reliable. What bothers me is that with the rate decrease ( and not jumping on the whine wagon because yes, they suck) I feel the people that stay and put up with it might just be the people(cars) that we might not want to see clogging up Riverside. The marketing strategy of Uber is for another thread... :) right now I see a lot of you get what you pay for happening with them allowing older cars, etc at rock bottom rates. And riders may poke fun, but they still turn on the ap and wait for their Ubermobile to show up. Dents or no dents. Bald tires or not... The rating system is too flat to weed those out.

Sooner or later someone will come along and make a better product for you, the Black drivers. The initial information I saw for Arcade City is promising. We won't see it in Jax immediately of course, and it's about advertising, advertising, advertising. Uber is winning that war across the income spectrum right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The accident that you refer to, where the UberX guy, hit the UberBlack Guy, yes & Uber will not pay out to the UberBlack Guy. Well, that is quite a conundrum because historically Uber does not "pay" out insurance claims to UberBlack drivers. They are to rely solely on their commercial insurance.

The UberX policy only pays claims for damages that UberX drivers "cause" i.e, liability, collision, bodily injury to passengers, (and you would hope other drivers) but they could be fighting it on the basis of fault. I can see them denying this saying that the UberBlack driver was at fault because then the UB driver's commercial policy would come into play (paying for any damages to the X drivers car) and the way the UberX policy is written, it would let the UberX guy & Uber's $1MM Policy walk away scott free. Placing all fault and all liability on the UberBlack Driver.

Crazy, seems to me that they are playing both sides... If the UberX driver was at fault, Uber would have to pay for the damages to the UberBlack Drivers Car, and because he is an UberBlack Commerically Insured Vehicle, they are refusing to pay. (That sucks bigtime if it's playing out that way.) (I wouldn't put it past em for a moment).

Makes you wonder what they do if an UberX car hits "anybody" out there... I know they settled with the family of the child that was killed by an X driver, but that was showered in media attention. These poor guys are up against Goliath.
 
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