The rules of the road are back in question with Uber drivers in Orlando.
Back in December, the Orlando City Council ruled that Uber drivers could legally operate under specific rules. Uber drivers could bypass the handicap-accessible vehicle and local dispatch center stipulations that other taxi services follow. However, they would need to have a $500 vehicle permit, $50 vehicle inspection, $25 driver permit, among other things.
One of the regulations put in effect this past February, was that Uber drivers are required to charge a base fare of $3 until the fare hits $20, at which point the driver can determine the rate. For Mears Taxis, the base fare is $2.40 per mile.
Uber connects riders to drivers through a mobile app, and while it’s highly convenient, some students have questioned its safety, especially upon learning some drivers haven’t followed through with the regulations.
Stephanie Quintana, a senior, said she always checks the profiles of any Uber she requests, in order to get an idea of who will be driving her and in what vehicle. She said her experience has been mostly positive, and it’s still a little cheaper than regular taxi services.
“I usually look at their profiles, and pick women drivers with newer cars. I don’t just pick any Uber like the one closest to me,” Quintana said.
For Brittany Hess, Uber is definitely the most economically effective route, as she shares her car with her boyfriend. And though most rides for the junior have been good experiences with friendly drivers, often dressed professionally, she remembered one sketchy ride to Sanford.
“I’m sure he had his drivers’ license, but I would have failed him on the test. He was on his phone, texting, the whole way,” Hess said.
Hess said that she’s aware that taking Uber is a bit of a risk, but she still uses it frequently to go downtown. Hess is grateful that there are regulations now for Uber drivers.
“You’re taking that risk because technically it’s not a taxi service, it’s a ride-sharing service. I still would never take an Uber alone at night,” Hess said.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, only nine permits have been issued since the regulations took effect. Uber drivers don’t seem willing to follow the recent regulations.
And why should they? The rules are not being enforced. According to Orlando Police, the Sentinel said only four citations have been issued to two Uber drivers for driving without permits.