Miami-Dade commissioners came to an agreement Tuesday evening involving the fate of ridesharing services in the county.
The commission voted 9-2 in favor of legalizing the use of transportation network entities, such as Uber and Lyft.
"It's all about the people. The people demanded it, the people deserve it," said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who supports the decision that took most of the day to reach.
Dozens came out to the commission chambers for the vote, both in support of and opposed to the ordinance.
"Today was a huge day in Miami-Dade County for the residents, tourists and drivers," said Kasra Moshkani, General Manager of Uber in South Florida.
Representatives from Uber said they wanted to ensure they'll be able to operate in the county. Taxi companies, however, argued that Uber drivers are stealing their business.
"They have devalued the taxicab industry to the point where the only thing they haven't done is put nails in the coffin, but they have us in the coffin already," said Diego Felicionado, President of the South Florida Taxicab Association.
People who own permits to operate cabs say they are seeing their investments plummet.
Commissioner Esteban Bovo had a critical role in moving the legislation forward. He said it's a success and now some changes put in place will allow the taxi industry to compete.
"We had a floor on what they could charge but one of their main complaints in the past was that the transportation network entities could undercut them. Now we've loosened that up so they can lower their prices when they need to," Bovo explained.
The vote means legal approval for an already successful Uber, which says it has more than 10,000 drivers operating in the county.
Mayor Gimenez released the following statement after the approval vote:
"Today represents the culmination of several years of hard work as we celebrate that Miami-Dade County's 2.7 million residents and millions of annual visitors will soon be able to legally use transportation network entities (TNEs) like Uber and Lyft. I want to thank Commissioner Esteban Bovo for his leadership and commitment to moving this critical legislation forward, and to Commissioner Audrey Edmonson for initially proposing the regulating of TNEs over two years ago.
App-based mobility solutions like Uber and Lyft are necessary to bringing Miami-Dade County transportation into the 21st century. To keep up with what our community wants, we must continue to integrate new technologies and forward-looking tools to offer transit and mobility solutions for our residents and visitors.
We all know that there is no silver bullet to solving our county’s transportation challenges, but services like Uber and Lyft can help residents and visitors better connect with our existing public transportation system, and serve as an additional transportation option for our community."