Taxi drivers call for PTC chair resignation on Uber, Lyft deal

- After Wednesday's meeting of the Public Transportation Commission, ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft are still technically operating illegally in Hillsborough County and calls remain for the resignation of PTC chairman Victor Crist.

The commission was expected to vote on proposed rules that would allow the on-demand car services to operate legally. They are aimed at increasing customer safety by requiring more involved background checks, better insurance coverage and required vehicle inspections.

During discussion, vocal opponents of the rules mainly from the taxi industry capped the set of regulations unfair. They also called for PTC Chariman Victor Crist to step down, claiming he'd made secret deals with Uber and Lyft and has said he wanted to destroy the PTC.

Crist said his comments were taken out of context and defended himself, successfully fending off a motion made for his resignation by fellow PTC member David Pogorilich.

"You want me to resign because I'm doing my job that the people elected me to do? You want me to resign because I'm not your puppet? That is absurd," said Crist.

After public comment and discussion on the proposed ride-hailing rules, the PTC held a closed-door session they said was to discuss ongoing litigation with Uber and Lyft.

All three parties hope the new regulations will settle the suit and avoid court.

"The taxicab and limo industries in Hillsborough County are not used to being challenged and at this juncture I'm trying to be fair," said Crist.

Crist says the PTC is close to giving the ride-sharing rules the green light, but staff needs to work out some minor points before the commission can take a final vote. A vote could come as soon as the next PTC meeting on June 8.

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