Monday, October 28, 2013

WFLA Discusses Hillsborough County Minimum Fare

The West Florida Livery Association met last month at Ocean Prime Restaurant in Tampa, FL, with 36 members in attendance. WFLA President Dave Shaw gave a report from the association’s officers, noting that the WFLA will have a booth at LCT Show East in Atlantic City, NJ, asking for volunteers to man it, and advising that there will be “a great schedule of educational seminars” at the show.

The most important and contentious item on the meeting’s agenda, however, was in regards to a lawsuit filed against the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission (PTC) by the libertarian-oriented group Institute for Justice. The suit alleges that the PTC is stifling free enterprise with a rule mandating that limo and sedan drivers charge at least $50 per ride—no matter how long the ride.

Although Hillsborough is the only county in the state that has a public transportation commission, other counties also have minimum fares. Miami-Dade has a $70 minimum fare, for example, although legislators in that part of the state are trying to repeal that minimum as well.

Objectors to the PTC’s minimum fare claim that it violates the due process rights of car service customers by “unreasonably and irrationally interfering with [their consumer rights],” according to the suit. But the $50 minimum fare is also the reason Uber said it could not compete in the Tampa market last year, which marks it as a valuable asset to our industry in the Tampa area.

After much discussion from both sides of this argument at September’s WFLA meeting, “the majority agreed that a minimum rate is important to the industry now and in the future, and the WFLA will convey this to [the PTC],” said Shaw. In addition, Shaw recently told the Tampa Tribune that the rule was put in place at the request of taxi and limo companies, with the intention of putting some “separation” between the two entities.
For more information on the WFLA, visit www.westfloridaliveryassoc.org.


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