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Uber Not Making Any Friends In Okaloosa County

The Northwest Daily News reports that Uber is not making any friends in Okaloosa County. According to County Commissioners, airport staff have reached out to Uber to see if they are interested in becoming a part of the airport ground transportation, but all they have received is silence from Uber. Thus, Okaloosa County Commissioners declined to change the airport’s ground transportation ordinance to allow Uber and similar companies special accommodations. The commissioners want a thorough conversation with Uber to fully understand the company’s business model and how the county can “regulate it appropriately.” In late May, commissioners were interested in incorporating Uber into the county ordinance. Currently, only registered taxicabs can operate and be available for hire transportation at the airport. In addition, authorized operators have to obtain a business tax receipt, holding at least $300,000 in bodily injury and property damage liability insurance and passing a background check and vehicle inspection. One of the commissioners, Carolyn Ketchel, had originally supported Uber drivers being available at the airport but now she has learned Uber drivers are not vetted or insured like taxi drivers. Commissioner Wayne Harris said unregulated Uber operators present “the potential for some type of crime or some type of problem” at the airport. Trey Goodwin was the only Commissioner who voted to change the ordinance, stating that the county could work directly with individual drivers, who are independent contractors, instead of waiting on Uber to respond. Goodwin argued the board to remember that Uber is merely a broker in the transaction. The board agreed to revisit the issue if Uber representatives agree to discuss the issue with county officials in the future.

Source: http://www.nwfdailynews.com/article/20150819/NEWS/150819160

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