You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

Uber, drivers fined $44,000 after county sting


The popular ride-sharing service Uber and six of its drivers were fined more than $44,000 by Palm Beach County officials Thursday for operating illegally in the county’s southern region.

Palm Beach County Assistant Administrator Vince Bonvento said the county’s consumer affairs division conducted a series of stings in Boca Raton and Delray Beach on Thursday, issuing a total of 30 citations to Uber and its drivers for operating without county-issued permits, identification badges, and decals and proper liability insurance.

The San Francisco-based company was issued 24 citations, with fines of $1,650 each. The drivers, whose names were not released, each face $750 in fines.

“Deliberately targeting driver partners for providing safe, reliable rides and earning a living is an abuse of power and a deliberate attempt to protect an entrenched industry,” Uber spokesman Taylor Bennett said Thursday night. “We will continue to deliver access to the choice and opportunity the people of Palm Beach deserve, and will defend our partners against these unjust citations.”

Palm Beach County commissioners on Tuesday are set to discuss Uber and other transportation network companies, like Lyft. In December, commissioners agreed to discuss ways to allow Uber to legally operate in the county.

Bonvento said the timing of Thursday’s sting, which was conducted with the help of others in the vehicle-for-hire industry, was not tied to Tuesday’s commission meeting. County inspectors have conducted weekly stings in search of Uber drivers operating without proper permits and insurance.

As of Thursday, the county had issued about 80 citations to Uber and its drivers for operating here, Bonvento said.

“We aren’t doing this because it is on the agenda Tuesday,” Bonvento said.

Bonvento said the county asked representatives of the taxi industry and other vehicle-for-hire companies for help with Thursday’s sting. As a result of the county’s crackdown on Uber, many operators recognize county officials’ phone numbers when they request a ride.

“Once they recognize the numbers, they understand it is probably a sting and they don’t respond,” Bonvento said. Thursday “we requested the assistance of some of the vehicle-for-hire industry. The numbers weren’t recognized.”

Uber has drawn the ire of taxi drivers nationwide who argue the company doesn’t comply with the government regulations and safety standards they must meet.

Uber announced last year that it was expanding its app-based service to West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale with prices that are 27 percent less than a taxi. The service allows users to tap the app on their smartphone to call for a vehicle, which can be anything from a limo to a four-door sedan.

Uber representatives say the company is technology-based, and simply provides a platform linking drivers and passengers. It doesn’t own vehicles or employ drivers, they contend.

All Uber driver partners must undergo company screening, including a background check, a driving history check and ongoing quality controls.

Uber driver partners are required to have four-door, mid- to full-size vehicles that are no more than 10 years old. The company says it also has its own commercial insurance policy that covers drivers and passengers.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

In Brussels, Trump appears to push aside prime minister of Montenegro
In Brussels, Trump appears to push aside prime minister of Montenegro

Pity tiny Montenegro.   The Balkan state is in the process of formally joining NATO, but membership, it seems, does not earn it a spot at the front of the line.   Video footage of world leaders at a NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday shows President Donald Trump appearing to push his way past the Montenegrin prime minister, Dusko...
Woman uninjured after car plunges off parking deck 
Woman uninjured after car plunges off parking deck 

A woman, who told police she was distracted by her cellphone, is uninjured after crashing through the wall of a hospital parking garage Wednesday and plunging off the deck. The unidentified woman, who is an employee at the Children’s of Alabama, hit the gas pedal instead of the brake and crashed through the wall around 6:55 a.m., the hospital...
Arrest warrant issued for hot yoga founder Bikram Choudhury
Arrest warrant issued for hot yoga founder Bikram Choudhury

An arrest warrant was issued for Bikram Choudhury, the “hot yoga” founder who is embroiled in sexual abuse allegations. Minakshi “Micki” Jafa-Bodden, who headed Choudhury’s legal team from 2011 to 2013, sued her employer for sexual harassment and wrongful termination after she was fired from her six-figure position for...
Georgia named world’s top filming location
Georgia named world’s top filming location

Georgia has just surpassed California, the United Kingdom and Canada as the No. 1 filming location worldwide, according to FilmLA's 2016 Feature Film Study.  The study, conducted by the nonprofit film office in Los Angeles, analyzes the 100 highest-performing feature films released every year. It also examines how much it took to make each...
Ben Carson calls poverty 'a state of mind'
Ben Carson calls poverty 'a state of mind'

Retired neurosurgeon and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is certainly no stranger to controversial statements. >> Read more trending news Carson’s latest controversial comment was captured during a Wednesday appearance on a Sirius XM radio show. “I think poverty, to a large extent, is also a state of mind,&rdquo...
More Stories