The Florida Chamber of Commerce and other organizations today launched Floridians for Ridesharing, a coalition advocating a uniform set of statewide regulations governing ridesharing services across Florida. The coalition includes business groups, nonprofit organizations, and safety organizations all interested in advancing ridesharing in Florida.
Floridians for Ridesharing will promote the economic and practical benefits of ridesharing in support of SB 340 and HB 221, identical bills to establish a consistent statewide framework for ridesharing in the state. Coalition members range from the Chamber and Associated Industries of Florida to the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Down Syndrome Society, and the Orlando Tech Association, as well as other business and safety groups.
“Florida’s future depends on diversifying our state’s economy by attracting and supporting innovations like ridesharing,” said Frank Walker, Vice President of Governmental Affairs at the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “Florida wins when we streamline regulations and work toward remaining globally competitive. Whether giving business travelers an easier way to get around or providing earning opportunities to more Floridians, ridesharing offers a tangible economic benefit to our state.”
Several ridesharing companies operate in Florida, including Uber and Lyft. Their internet-based applications enable passengers to contact nearby drivers, who then use their own vehicles to transport the passengers to their destinations. Ridesharing providers currently must operate under a patchwork of local laws that can vary widely from community to community, a problem that would be resolved by the statewide framework envisioned in the legislation. New Jersey passed similar legislation earlier this month, becoming the 38th state to enact statewide ridesharing regulations.
“Convenient transportation options are an absolute necessity for people with vision loss – and ridesharing introduces a simple, affordable means to get around,” said Kim Galban-Countryman, executive director of the Lighthouse of the Big Bend. “Ridesharing truly is an eye-opening experience for people who have traditionally had to rely on other people taking them places. That’s why we are proud to support these innovative services.”
Ridesharing services have been shown to provide a significant boost to local economies, allowing people to stay out later while still having the option for a safe ride home. Together, Uber and Lyft have provided Florida’s residents and visitors with tens of millions of rides, resulting in millions of dollars in additional passenger spending.
“Ridesharing services help countless Floridians have access to an innovative, convenient, and affordable method of transportation while providing drivers with the opportunity to generate extra income,” said Julio Fuentes, president and CEO of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Companies like Lyft and Uber are helping create the transportation options of tomorrow, and the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is proud to support statewide legislation that brings clarity and consistency to our state’s ridesharing regulations.”
SB 340 and HB 221 set standards for ridesharing operations that would provide uniformity in the services across Florida. These standards include criteria for background checks, insurance, and consumer protections.
“The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce has supported legislation establishing statewide regulation of ridesharing for the past four years, and we will continue to support it until the bill becomes law,” said Bob Rohrlack, president and CEO of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. “Our members and their employees look forward to the passage of HB 221 and SB 340 during the 2017 Legislative Session.”
The House bill, HB 221 sponsored by Reps. Chris Sprowls and James Grant, was overwhelmingly approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee and the House Government Accountability Committee, while Sen. Brandes’ SB 340 is awaiting review by the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.
Here is a full list of organizations that support Floridians for Ridesharing:
· Florida Chamber of Commerce
· Associated Industries of Florida
· Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
· Internet Association
· Floridians for Better Transportation
· National Down Syndrome Society
· Floridians for Government Accountability
· Florida Council for Safe Communities
· Florida Faith and Freedom Coalition
· Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce
· South Tampa Chamber of Commerce
· Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce
· Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce
· Orlando Tech Association
· Lighthouse of the Big Bend
· Generation Opportunity
· J. J. Taylor Distributing Florida
· Jacksonville Armada Football Club
· Beaver Street Fisheries, Inc.
· Dalton Agency
· The New Tropic
Individuals, organizations, and businesses interested in learning more information about ridesharing or joining the Floridians for Ridesharing coalition can visit www.ridesharingfl.com.