The ride-sharing service Uber is suspending operations in Broward County effective July 31, citing too many restrictions from county commissioners.
The company sent push notifications to drivers and riders informing them they will no longer pick up passengers in Broward County. Uber riders told 7News they’re upset at the Broward County Commission. “I’m really devastated,” said Joleen Searles.
Back in April, Broward County passed a new law legalizing services like Uber and Lyft, but the new law left in place tough provisions to which Uber objected.
Uber released a statement that reads in part: “It is impossible for Uber to continue providing the high standard of service and affordability the community has come to expect under the burdens of these unnecessary regulatory barriers. Rather than provide substandard service, we have decided to suspend operations while we seek a path forward.”
Broward County Mayor Tim Ryan, however, said requirements like extensive background checks and commercial insurance need to be in place. “We’ve tried to put together a set of regulations that will provide for public safety, but at the same time allow Uber and other transportation network companies to operate in South Florida.”
Uber officials, nevertheless, indicated these regulations inevitably result in subpar service. Monday’s statement reads in part, “These new rules raise substantial barriers for local entrepreneurs and make it impossible for us to continue providing the standard of service people have come to expect in Broward County.”
Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca, a self-proclaimed Uber user, said it’s his belief the majority on the commission supported the taxi cab industry over the popular ride-sharing service. “I’m a strong believer that people should have options. It’s going to be lost revenue to the drivers who signed up and people who expect to get a ride from point A to point B,” he said.
An attorney for the cab companies said the county did the right thing by voting in favor of putting regulations on the service. “Uber’s choosing to leave,” said Mark Stempler. “Even with those regulations, Uber still enjoyed a great deal of benefits over other similarly situated players.”
Uber had begun operating in Broward County in August 2014, providing more than one million rides, according to the service. Monday’s announcement does not affect services in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
An online petition to keep Uber in Broward has already gained tens of thousands of signatures. Riders said they are hoping commissioners will listen. “Fix it! Fix it! Get Uber back. We love Uber,” said Searles.
“Do what you need to do to get us back in order,” said another disappointed Uber rider.
Even though riders may no longer be able to request a ride in Broward County, they will still be able to be dropped off in the county. If you want to keep Uber in Broward, here’s a link to the petition.