Transportation companies concerned new app Uber X

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Marcus Blount and Kate Cronk own First Coast Corporate Transportation. They are concerned about a relatively new competitor and whether it meets the City's vehicle for hire code.

"When taxi inspection doesn't know anything about Uber X cars being in town that's a problem," said Cronk.

Uber X is an app based, low fare, share riding service. According to Cronk, it does not meet the standards of other transportation companies.

"They're not regulated for safety ," she said, "they're not regulated for insurance or any of those items that are necessary for consumers."

Meanwhile, Uber Technologies spokesperson Natalia Montalvo said that's not the case. In fact, she said, the coverage the company maintains goes beyond what's asked of taxi and limousine companies.

"Since introducing uberX in Jacksonville, riders and drivers have welcomed the service with open arms," said Montalvo. "Ridesharing is a new, innovative business model that creates jobs, drives the local economy and is a safe, reliable transportation alternative."

"In Florida, our corporate insurance policy includes up to $1 million of coverage for every trip, which exceeds what is required of taxis. Our unparalleled commitment to safety ensures that we connect riders to the safest rides on the road," she said.

Still, Cronk and others have contacted the city's general counsels office to find out why is Uber X being allowed to operate in the market.

"These are individuals with their own private car," said Blount, "they can go in and sign up with Uber X and on their own personal insurance go pick someone up and give them a ride."

Blount said that is a big problem and it is unfair to the other companies that must secure medallions and pass certain inspections before they can begin operation.

"All of our people must got through a background check," he said, "these drivers do not."

Competition is one thing, he said, public safety is another. Blount said the concerns are not restricted to the First Coast.

"All over the country there are drivers and owners of cab companies getting together to fight," he said, "it is hurting their business and again it is not safe for consumers."

These transportation company owners ironically have a working relationship with Uber Black, which uses established licensed transportation companies, but remain concerned about Uber X and it use of private individuals and their personal vehicles.

"Any vehicle for hire has to operate under the city code," said Dave DeCamp.

Decamp is spokesperson for the City of Jacksonville and said the city's ordinance was amended but the rules are the same when it comes to vehicles for hire.

"We will review and take appropriate action under the code," said DeCamp.

Natalia Montalvo with Uber Technologies responded to an email, but did not respond to the concerns expressed by the local transportation company owners.


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