Miami is at a critical crossroads in its ascendance to becoming a global city. Our community has made significant progress in breaking out of its historical economic reliability on tourism, construction and foreigners looking for a safe home for their funds.
But establishing Miami as a center for technology and innovation that complements, and eventually rivals, Silicon Valley, Research Triangle and Tech City UK is not guaranteed. All areas of our community must come together — from our elected officials and educational institutions to business leaders and strategic investors — to show the world we’re ready to excel on the global stage. This month Miami-Dade County commissioners will have the opportunity to restructure the laws that govern local transportation and allow Uber to begin offering services. Uber is a technology company that’s revolutionizing the transportation market. It is a smartphone app that allows users to connect with licensed transportation providers. The company does not own town cars or taxis, neither does it employ drivers. Instead, Uber’s technology solutions helps transportation companies fill otherwise empty vehicles and provides users with a safe, reliable way to get to their destination.
Through the use of innovative technology, the Uber app supports expedited economic development of new neighborhoods and businesses. Residents, working professionals and visitors from around the world who use Uber will have an efficient, cost-effective solution that allows them to enjoy our city without worrying about getting lost or dealing with parking congestion. Uber will also help neighborhoods traditionally underserved by transportation by facilitating reliable transportation to and from areas throughout Miami.
Those who oppose this new technology want to limit the availability of Uber-connected drivers or shut the service out of our community all together. Entrenched taxi companies argue that the service will negatively affect their business. At the same time many drivers who work for those companies are in favor of Uber because of the potential for increased income and improved working conditions.
Former taxi drivers partnering with Uber for UberBLACK are earning between 30 percent and 50 percent more than they used to driving a taxi, with more flexible schedules and fewer hours. Miami is on the verge of monumental transformation that is being forged by access to rapidly evolving technologies reshaping every facet of our lives. Uber is already available in every other major U.S. city — except Miami. How can we take our rightful place among leading global technology centers if we’re not prepared, as a community, to embrace this innovative technology?
Miami is a metropolis synonymous with being a progressive, technology friendly place to do business that provides a vibrant array of lifestyle activities. Miami can and should be leading the way and adopt Uber’s exciting innovations.
Manuel D. Medina, chairman of the board, Technology Foundation
of the Americas, Miami