Lyft, Uber drivers face new barrage of tickets

- Newly laid off worker Francisco Franco is driving for Lyft while he applies for new jobs.

"I recently lost my main job, and I do something to feed my family."

His phone buzzed Friday morning for a pickup at the Brandon Mall. It was really the Public Transportaiton Commission requesting a ride.

He was falling for a sting.

"I say to the police, 'Sir, I lost my job,' he said, 'Sorry.'"

The PTC handed Franco three tickets for not having the same insurance and licenses as taxi drivers. He will submit the $700 in tickets to Lyft for reimbursement.

"Take care of real problems," Franco said. "Don't take care of people who make money who are trying to support families."

The PTC says they will run stings all weekend. On Friday, they ticketed 19 Lyft and Uber drivers at the Brandon mall and Ybor City.

After waiting several months to see if the legislature could agree on statewide rules of operation, they have resumed ticketing after lawmakers failed.

"We want the public to have the services they are demanding, but we want it to be fair and safe," said Public Transportation Commissioner Victor Crist.

The PTC, and taxi companies, say it's not fair of safe for Uber and Lyft drivers to pick people up without being fingerprinted or background checked against international databses.

Negotiations with the companies have to this point, failed, over insurance requirements.

"If you get injured, you  have to get a lawyer and sue," said Crist.

Passengers on S. Howard Ave. worry that ticket blitzes will keep drivers off the road, but urge the companies to negotiate with the PTC.

"They are punishing the consumers like me and other people. I don't think that's fair. But I do understand," said Uber passenger Greg Forrest.

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