Uber reaches agreement with Hillsborough PTC; battle not over

- Uber reached an agreement today with the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission (PTC), but it’s not the end of the ridesharing battle.

While only Uber was present at the announcement on Thursday, PTC chairman Victor Crist says that Lyft is also on board with the agreement. 

Uber agreed to pay a $250,000 licensure fee to Hillsborough PTC. Lyft will have a lower fee of $150,000 because they have fewer cars on the road. 

The controversial ridesharing companies agreed to a 15-month temporary operating agreement that establishes requirements including a thorough screening process for drivers transporting passengers, auto liability insurance requirements, steep licensure fees, and vehicle age and inspection provisions.

Under the agreement, background checks must be done on drivers, and all cars must display the company decal while operating. The background checks will include checks of Federal Court, FBI, Interpol, and state sex offender records. 

But although background checks will be required, finger prints will not. This issue has been a major point of contention for Uber and Lyft in negotiations.

Officials say that violations of the new rules will be met with stiff penalties. A first time incident will incur a penalty fee of $2,500, and a second time incident will have a fee of $5,000. 

Uber says that this Hillsborough County agreement has the most advanced safety measures of any other agreement in the nation.

“We believe this agreement includes the most sensible path forward,” stated an Uber spokesperson.

While the agreement is temporary, it could become official if the PTC votes in favor of it at the next meeting on October 13. According to Crist, County Commissioner Ken Hagan is likely the one swing vote that could affect the outcome.

Uber is threatening to pull out of Hillsborough Country if the new agreement fails.

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