When Sen. Marco Rubio wanted to take his family to dinner in the nation’s capital on Sunday, he got out his iPhone and ordered a car from Uber.
But when he recently talked up the service while home in Florida, he was blocked.
“Up comes a message saying, ‘Sorry we can’t pick you up in Miami because your county commission won’t allow it,’ ” Rubio said Monday while visiting Uber’s Washington office.
In Uber, which has felt resistance from the taxi business in cities across the country, Rubio sees a lesson in free market enterprise and the stifling effect of regulation.
“We do need regulations to protect the consumer from unfair practices and to protect the safety of the public,” Rubio said. “But what regulation should never be is a weapon that is used by connected and established industry to crowd out innovation and competitors.”
In Miami, a person wanting a non-taxi service must wait at least an hour and pay a minimum $70 regardless of the trip duration, according to Uber.
The company is fighting back.
In Tallahassee on Monday, not long after Rubio’s appearance in Washington, a panel of lawmakers narrowly approved a proposal allowing companies like Uber to circumvent municipalities and win approval from the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
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