Critical PTC ridesharing vote delayed until November
A crucial vote that may determine if rideshare firms Uber and Lyft remain in Hillsborough County will not take place until November, Public Transportation Commission Chairman Victor Crist said Thursday.
The agency that regulates for-hire vehicles in Hillsborough was scheduled to meet Thursday to decide whether to move forward with strict new rules requiring fingerprinting of rideshare drivers or to adopt a temporary operating agreement for Uber and Lyft.
However, it’s doubtful whether the PTC seven-member board will have enough members present to have a quorum, Crist said. The vote will now be scheduled for the PTC's next regular meeting on Nov. 9.
The Tampa City Council is also meeting Thursday, creating a conflict for council members Frank Reddick and Guido Maniscalco. Reddick today wrote to Crist requesting the rescheduling of the PTC meeting, or at least the discussion on ridesharing, to Nov. 9.
“I agree with (Reddick) that we’ve got some very controversial issues on the agenda,” Crist said. “We should try to have as many board members present as possible to participate.”
The proposed 15-month temporary operating agreement would apply only to Uber and Lyft, which began operating in Hillsborough in April 2014. It requires enhanced Level I background checks and sets standards for insurance, vehicle inspections and the age of vehicles among other details.
The PTC board is also considering a general set of regulations to apply to all rideshare firms including a Level II fingerprint based background check as is required for taxicab drivers. Uber officials have warned that requirement could lead them to stop operating in Hillsborough.