Uber targets Victor Crist & Al Higginbotham in new mailers


Negotiations between ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft and the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Company have moved along at a snail's pace this year since the two companies began operating their services in April without being certified by the PTC. After repeated warnings, PTC agents have gone after and started busting Lyft and Uber drivers, citing them for various violations.

But if those citations were meant to intimidate those drivers and the San Francisco-based companies representing them, it hasn't worked. Though PTC officials previously grumbled that representatives from Uber and Lyft were resistant to sitting down with them, officials from both companies have been talking with the Hillsborough regulatory body over the past month. 

But neither company is happy with the compromise offer that the PTC offered last month to those companies — a compromise that would still require Uber and Lyft to charge customers at least $30 and make them order the service at least a half-hour in advance.


That would definitely have been a breakthrough in 2012, when Uber was attempting to break into the market with its Uber Black town car service, but doesn't work for them now with Uber X, which operates more like a traditional cab service.

Two weeks ago, the PTC put up a billboard near I-4 and 50th Street warning riders to “be cautious of illegal transport providers.” 

So over the weekend Uber began sending out mailers in advance of this Wednesday's PTC meeting to Tampa residents to show up and oppose the compromise proposals — and they're targeting two PTC board members who happen to be up for re-election in November: PTC Chair Victor Crist and Al Higginbotham, running in the countywide District 7 race against Democrat Pat Kemp.

The frontside of the mailers depict a frustrated pedestrian holding his head and his hands with the line, "We deserve to choose how we get around the Bay Area. Don't let politicians and special interests leave you sitting on the curb."

The other side features a photo of one of the County Commissioners, asking why they are trying to block consumer choice?



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