Taxis in Florida would benefit if bill becomes law

Florida Department of Transportation Building
Photo Cred: Adobe Stock

David Borrero, a Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives,
introduced a bill on Feb. 14 which, if passed, would bring changes to regulations
surrounding the state’s transportation sector.

The bill addresses vehicles used to transport people or goods at a fee as “vehicles for
hire.” However, this does not apply to transportation network companies such as Uber
or Lyft since their regulation, is in the hands of the Department of Financial Services.

The bill seeks to remove the existing bottleneck for license holders obtaining a new
license or permit to operate a vehicle for hire within a municipality, county and airport, at
a fee. It does this by introducing the following changes. It prohibits a county or city from
requiring a license holder to obtain another license if they hold a valid active license.

The permit must, however, be recognized in the jurisdiction in which they permanently
reside. The license holder should not have had their license or permit to drive a for-hire
vehicle revoked or suspended within the preceding five years.

John Williams, a taxi driver in Tallahassee, believes this will make it easier for drivers to
operate in different locations.

“The proposed legislation will benefit drivers who want to expand their business and
work in other areas,” Williams said. “I visit Orlando often, and I’m anxious to go out there
once the bill goes into effect. Downtown is always busy, which means more

The legislation also affects airports, prohibiting them from demanding someone seek a
license or permit to drive a for-hire car on the airport grounds.

Advocates for the bill provide examples of other cities and counties that have adopted
regulations to abolish the need for vehicle licenses in the “for-hire” car sector. Sarasota,
Naples and Collier County discontinued licensing a for-hire car in 2015. Ultimately,
every holder of a driving license will be permitted to operate a for-hire vehicle. The law
specifies that when an individual applies for a for-hire permit or requests to renew an
existing one, the state has a yearly licensing tax policy.

Anna Lewis, a taxi driver in Tampa, is excited she’ll no longer miss out on any business.
“Non-vehicle-for-hire drivers have it easy. They’re not subjected to any fees and are free
to travel and work in other places whenever they want to,” Lewis said. “The demand for
our services will increase, and I couldn’t be happier.”

Additionally, a vehicle permit decal that both the airport and the city issue must always
be displayed.