Tampa taxis battling ride-sharing services

Posted at 11:30 PM, Sep 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-21 23:30:51-04

The battle between taxi and ride-sharing companies continues.

Both sides are spending thousands of dollars for legislative support at the local and state level.

After looking into finance reports, we found ride-share companies Uber, and Lyft have spent at least $260 thousand in the last year hiring lobbyists to work the legislature at the state level.

Ride-share companies currently have at least 33 registered lobbyists at the state capitol.

To compare locally in Hillsborough, ride-share companies have at least 4 registered lobbyists.

Political analyst, Dr. Susan MacManus says there are plenty of reasons Uber and Lyft are targeting efforts at the state level.

"If you are in that business you would like some uniformity coming out of Tallahassee so that you don't have to operate under one rule here and another rule there which can be very confusing to your customers and also affect your whole base of operation." says Dr. MacManus.

Local taxi companies and executives have spent about $68 thousand in the last 5 years on local candidates who are or would have been eligible to serve on Hillsborough's Public Transportation Commission (The PTC).

"The cab services are focusing their attention on local governments because that's who regulates them more closely right now." Dr. MacManus adds.        

Which is why historically cab companies have targeted local campaigns.

Dr. MacManus says, "It's such an important part of the whole economy at the moment in rideshare, you look at cities who have cast aside the idea, Austin, Texas which had it then got rid of it and now they're suffering economically a bit because of it."

While politicians battle it out at the local level, campaign contributions for both sides may increase at the state level, as legislators vow to work on giving rideshares the green light statewide.