It’s law! With the passage of House Bill 1039 and Senate Bill 1352—which was signed into law by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in late June—the playing field has officially been leveled for operators in the Sunshine State, at least regarding permits. Operators in the state had been plagued for years by the cumbersome registration process that required decals by jurisdiction—an expensive and unseemly way to “decorate” a windshield.
Florida Limousine Association President Rick Versace of A1A Airport & Limousine Service has talked extensively about the association’s efforts to make this a reality, and he shared that progress had been made legislatively during the association’s meeting at the CD/NLA Show in Las Vegas this past February.
According to Versace, the first thing Uber did when they came to town was to get a statewide ordinance passed that allowed them to operate everywhere in the state without fees and inspections from the local jurisdiction. He says that the legislation specially disallowed taxis and limousines from operating as TNCs, giving the ridesharing companies a competitive advantage and saving them the millions of dollars that chauffeured transportation collectively had to spend each year to operate in numerous jurisdictions.
“This new law finally put our industry on a level playing field with Uber and Lyft,” says Versace. “Florida has been burdened by an overlapping and very expensive regulation system, where every jurisdiction had a hand out to take money from our industry. In some places in the state, you had to have as many as 11 different decals on your windshield to operate legally. You practically had to have a permit for every city and county that you picked up in. The law we just passed amended Uber’s original legislation and allow chauffeured transportation companies to operate as TNCs. There are requirements to act as a TNC, but they are a lot easier and much less expensive than what we were paying before. We do the exact same thing that they do, so why shouldn’t we be regulated the same way.”
Greater Orlando Limousine Association President Cliff Wright of Royal Coach Transportation Group is also thrilled about the new law.
“Rick Versace has worked very hard for years to get this bill through and it would have never happened without him,” says Wright. “He is a real champion in our industry here in Florida. Most small companies will never know how much time and effort he put into this.”