After years of legal battles, increased regulations, and fines Uber drivers are breathing a sigh of relief after legislators passed HB 647 to dissolve the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission.
“I’m glad I can drive here without any issues now,” Prentis Jones an Uber driver said.
The PTC was the only regulatory agency of its kind in Florida. Before coming to an agreement with the PTC last year, drivers were subject to heft fines for operating within the county.
“It makes it easier and not to worry and make a living you know,“Julio Perilla said.
Perilla said he drivers when his wife isn’t working. That way he can watch the kids and not have to pay for daycare.
‘“It is very flexible. It helps a lot I don't have to worry about paying a thousand dollars in babysitting,” Perilla said. “Now, I'm good, free and clear.”
According to HB 647, the PTC will be dissolved Dec. 31 2017. That is the same day the agreement between the PTC and rideshare companies were set to expire as well.
The bill’s author, Republican James Grant, telling ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska it will be up to the county to regulate rideshares in the future. Grant said he hopes whatever the county decides to do will be in the best interest of consumers and the drivers. Grant said the days of Uber drivers getting fined for picking up passengers should be over.
Legislators also passed HB221, a transportation bill that calls for mandatory minimums for rideshare drivers statewide. The regulations are for insurance, vehicle inspections, and background checks.
Both bills now go to Gov. Rick Scott to be signed into law.