Travel blogger Keri Anderson decided she was going to try out Uber rival Lyft. She was on her way to a steakhouse and wasn’t in the mood to take a cab since it was pretty late.
Only problem: she happened to be in Tampa. And ridesharing startups like Uber and Lyft happen to be illegal in Florida.
Moments after Anderson hopped into her Lyft driver’s car, an officer from the Hillsborough Public Transportation Commission was walking up to the driver’s window.
Instead of bolting, Anderson decided to stick around and see how the interaction played out, and she describes the experience in a post on the Heels First blog.
Both the officer and driver assured Anderson she would not be in any trouble, but the officer proceeded to write up a bunch of citations for the driver. A hundred bucks for not having the right licence and then $US200 to Lyft for illegally hiring her, plus $US600 for two other violations.
And on top of that, the officer warned the driver that she was planning on filing the charges as misdemeanours, which could be prosecuted as criminal charges. She also ranted about cracking down on Lyft and “all your little Lyft friends.”
Apparently Anderson’s driver is not the only one who is being threatened by Tampa officers.
The legality of ridesharing apps has been at a frustrating impasse for the past few months, according to The Tampa Tribune. But despite the legal issues, Uber and Lyft have decided to operate in the area with or without official laws in place.
Tampa’s Public Transportation Commission is not happy with the situation and has been threatening drivers with warnings and citations that could add up to a maximum of $US800.
In her post, Anderson notes she is all for the existence of the ridesharing services and wishes Tampa officers would spend their time and energy actually protecting its citizens.
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