Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa's electric-vehicle shuttles could hit the road again soon

TAMPA — County transportation officials are working to find a way to put electric vehicles that offer an alternative to traditional taxis back on the road.

A plan presented Thursday by Cesar Padilla, executive director of the Public Transportation Commission, outlined proposed new rules covering safety matters such as driver background checks and insurance.

The new regulations would also limit the carts to downtown, Hyde Park, the Channel District and Ybor City, and allow drivers to charge up to $3 per person for the ride. The carts would also be exempt from caps limiting the number of permits issued to taxis.

The Public Transportation Commission board will consider the rules on Sept. 9.

Board member Rose Ferlita said she would like to schedule a special meeting before then so the electric cart companies could be back in business sooner.

"Nobody is trying to push the electric cart companies out of the city," Ferlita said. "We are here to be sure every business, small or large, continues."

The electric cart companies, operating with such names as JoyRide and Hop Tampa, have been shuttered since Aug. 12.

That's when the Public Transportation Commission, under pressure from cab companies that were losing business to the carts, voted to begin regulating the services.

Under current rules, that means the carts need permits and have to meet certain vehicle standards to operate.

Ferlita said she was stunned by the criticism she received from people who accused her of trying to pull the plug on the electric cart companies.

She said her vote to regulate them was solely a matter of safety.

"My first responsibility is to the public, and that's along the lines of public safety," she said.

Cab drivers who spoke at the workshop said they support the proposed rules for regulating the carts.

"We can coexist under the regulatory environment," said Brook Negusei, owner of Cab Plus.

Attorney Michael Brannigan, though, questioned the ability of the commission to regulate the electric vehicles at all, saying they're not mentioned in the state statute that outlines its responsibilities.

"The vote that was taken last time was in direct violation of your own procedures," he said. "You took a vote on something that wasn't even publicly noticed. We're here today in a workshop and it's kind of a foregone conclusion that PTC has the authority and that these are substantially the rules that are going to be implemented. . . . Where is the authority coming from?"

Orlando Perez, a senior assistant county attorney who advises the commission, told Brannigan there was no point in discussing the previous vote.

"This forum provides an opportunity to look forward and try to develop a relationship where the industries potentially can coexist," Perez said. "I don't feel that it's really productive for us to rehash and reconsider what the commission did."

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3401.

Tampa's electric-vehicle shuttles could hit the road again soon 08/27/09 [Last modified: Thursday, August 27, 2009 10:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary celebration

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 27:  Anthony DeAngelo of the Tampa Bay Lightning poses for a portrait during the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 27, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
  2. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote

    Blogs

    While the Lightning is still trying to bolster its blueline via trade, it selected a big, right shot defenseman Cal Foote at No. 14 overall Friday in the NHL Draft.

    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  3. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to

    Business

    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.
  4. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter

    Blogs

    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.

  5. The Lightning's 2017-18 road jersey