What began as a civil campaign to change Miami-Dade County laws so passengers could hail car rides using their cellphones has, in the face of political opposition, evolved into an outright insurgency.
Ride-sharing service UberX plans to launch in the county Wednesday, joining Lyft, which began offering rides two weeks ago.
The cutthroat rivals will compete against each other while fighting on the same side against county government, which considers their business illegal. Regulators say they have already issued 11 fines to Lyft drivers.
Openly defying local laws amounts to a guerrilla blitz against Miami-Dade, though the dueling companies explain their strategy in much friendlier — and strikingly similar — terms.
“What we’re hearing more and more is an urging and an excitement to try to work to find a solution,” said Rachel Holt, a regional general manager for Uber.
Said Paige Thelen, a Lyft spokeswoman: “We’re committed to working with local leaders to pass new rules for this new, peer-to-peer industry.”
Uber lobbied county commissioners unsuccessfully last year to deregulate the car-service industry, which has long-established protections for limousine and — especially — taxicab operators. The San Francisco-based firm also tried to appeal to Florida lawmakers in Tallahassee, to no avail.