Broward County: Sorry, Uber, We Can Now Take You To Court
June 24, 2015 — Broward County and Uber's turbulent relationship reached new heights Tuesday evening, when commissioners decided the county could take Uber to court.
The county commission voted 7-2 to allow legal action against ride-hailing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, operating illegally in Broward County.
The decision came after a long meeting that saw heated debate not only between the county and company representatives but also among Broward officials themselves.
While Uber’s decision late Monday to stop pickups from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades—a move the company hoped would fare well with the county—was acknowledged by commissioners, it wasn’t enough to change their minds about possibly moving forward with litigation.
Citing the effort, Commissioner Mark Bogen initially proposed the company enter a written agreement with Broward, in which Uber would essentially put money behind its promise to cease operations at those locations. “Once it's violated, all bets are off,” Bogen said.
Other commissioners said the county has given app-based companies like Uber—which officially began operating in Broward in August 2014—plenty of chances throughout the last few months.
“I’m sick and tired of them playing games with us,” Commissioner Barbara Sharief said, addressing Bogen. “You may have gray hair before you get that [agreement].”
Commissioner Martin David Kiar, who supported Bogen’s proposal, said he thought Broward’s regulations were fair and wanted to see ride-sharing companies work things out during the commission’s summer recess. But he, too, was over the debate.
“This is getting very frustrating, very annoying,” Kiar said, “and I would like to put it behind us."
The commission ultimately moved to allow the county attorney to take action as needed.
"We're disappointed by the action, and we're going to wait to see what the county attorney says," said Kasra Moshkani, general manager of Uber in South Florida, according to WSVN.
The outcome is the latest in a long string of battles to regulate ride-sharing businesses like Uber running in Broward.
The county requires drivers for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) to carry insurance and undergo a background check, and vehicles are required to be inspected by a licensed mechanic—regulations that Uber has said make it difficult to operate in the area.
Two weeks ago, Broward County commissioners finalized fines for unregistered and uninsured drivers. The penalty for non-compliance is as high as $1,000.