Florida Creates Permanent Home for Ridesharing by Overwhelming Support

Posted at 11:47 AM, Apr 19, 2017

Wednesday morning, the Florida Senate passed Committee Substitute for House Bill 221 by a vote of 36 to 1, establishing a regulatory framework for the operation of transportation network companies (TNCs) in the State of Florida.

This legislation will increase access to ridesharing and enhance mobility for even more residents and visitors across the state. CS/HB 221 now heads to Florida Governor Rick Scott for signature.

“As the third largest state in the nation, Florida should be at the forefront of fostering cutting-edge industries and economic development,” said Rep. Chris Sprowls (R-Clearwater). “Floridians voices were heard with today’s passage of meaningful ridesharing regulations. Access to safe and affordable transportation options enhances mobility no matter where you live or work in Florida, and will positively impact our local communities.”

“We're grateful to Sen. Brandes, Rep. Chris Sprowls, and Rep. Jamie Grant for their commitment to carrying ridesharing legislation over the finish line, and for the consistent leadership shown by Gov. Scott, President Negron, and Speaker Corcoran,” said Uber Public Affairs Director Colin Tooze. “The most exciting opportunities are yet to come, as millions of Florida residents and visitors, from Pensacola to Key West, will have permanent access to Uber.”

“We applaud the Florida Senate, and especially Sen. Brandes, for passing a statewide framework for ridesharing," Lyft said in a statement. "This legislation will provide certainty for the many Floridians who use the convenient and affordable transportation services offered by Lyft, and we encourage the Governor to sign this bill into law. We want to thank the Lyft community throughout Florida for standing up in support of ridesharing. We look forward to continuing to provide Florida’s residents and visitors with innovative transportation options that boost economic growth in communities across the Sunshine State.”

“Florida lawmakers voted today to remove the road block constructed by years of entrenched interests and ensure residents and visitors alike have choices when it comes to transportation,” said Brewster Bevis, Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Associated Industries of Florida. “At AIF, we support businesses that not only create jobs, but that also make our state competitive and attractive so that people will plant roots here. Transportation Network Companies make Florida a better place to live, work, and visit.”

Requirements Included in CS/HB221 for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs)
Rider Safety
• TNCs are required to display a picture and license plate number of the TNC driver on the digital platform before the passenger enters the vehicle;
• TNCs shall conduct criminal background checks of each prospective driver;
• TNCs shall disqualify prospective TNC drivers who are matches in the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website;
• A TNC must adopt a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy; and
• TNCs must obtain and review driving history research reports for each prospective TNC driver.

Minimum Insurance Standards
• Automobile liability insurance of at least $1,000,000 during a prearranged ride; and
• Requires a TNC to purchase primary insurance coverage and clarifies coverage responsibilities among insurers.

Consumer Protection
• TNCs are required to provide riders with the applicable fare to be charged before the passenger enters the TNC vehicle;
• TNCs must provide riders with an electronic receipt that lists the origin and destination, total trip time and distance, and the total fare paid;
• TNCs must adopt a policy of nondiscrimination in accordance with Florida Law;
• TNCs are prohibited from imposing additional charges for providing TNC services to individuals with disabilities because of their disabilities;
• TNC drivers must also comply with all laws relating to accommodation of service animals; and
• Department of Financial Services may impose citations and seek injunctive relief if a TNC is noncompliant with safety and insurance requirements.

What this Means for Florida (once signed by Governor Rick Scott)
• Every Florida resident and visitor, no matter where they are located, will have access to ridesharing.
• This bill establishes the regulatory framework for the operation of TNCs in the State of Florida. The approved legislation provides regulatory certainty for TNC services in Florida by replacing a patchwork of conflicting local regulations with a unified statewide framework.
• These new regulations preempt local regulations designed to keep ridesharing out of multiple jurisdictions and facilities throughout Florida.
• The approved legislation allows an airport or seaport to charge reasonable pickup fees consistent with any pickup fees charged to taxicab companies at that airport or seaport for their use of the airport or seaport’s facilities. The legislation also allows the airport or seaport to designate locations for staging, pickup, and other similar operations at the airport or seaport.