Since 2014, Miami-Dade County code enforcers have been on a mission to conduct sting operations, impound vehicles and fine drivers.
The identified “dangerous forces” that apparently require such actions are popularly known as “ride-for-hire” powerhouses Uber and Lyft. Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s recent willingness to pull back the county’s assault on these companies would increase both consumer choice and job opportunities for the residents of Miami-Dade.
These innovative services make catching a ride more convenient and less expensive, while boosting the job market.
The only threat that ride-sharing poses is to members of the established, licensed taxi industry — certainly not to the 20,000 people a month who, worldwide, became Uber drivers in 2014 or the customers that continue to download the app at a staggering pace. The rigorous vetting and inspection process required by Uber to become a driver is far stricter than the process required by the government to obtain a license.
Fortunately, Gimenez’s willingness to legalize Uber and Lyft increases innovation that will move Miami-Dade forward. Other county and city leaders should follow his example.
Derek K. Yonai, director, Center for Free Enterprise, Florida Southern College, Lakeland