August 7, 2017
Taxi drivers say the new ride-sharing services are causing loads of trouble in Key West, while Uber officials say the rollout has been smooth with few complaints.
Cab drivers Carl Mott and Michael Olanoff addressed the Key West City Commission on Tuesday about Uber and Lyft drivers breaking rules by accepting street hails, causing unheard-of congestion on weekends in Old Town and Miami-based drivers poaching local fares and sleeping in their cars on public property.
“There (is) a fleet of about 50 to 70 people from out of town who are sleeping in their cars often and are coming in from out of town often and are depriving us of a living often,” Olanoff said.
The influx of ride-sharing drivers has already run a third of the island’s approximately 300 taxi drivers out of business, Olanoff said.
“There won’t be any cab companies next year,” he told the board.

I'd love to hear what the cab company owners say about losing 1/3 of their drivers already. Why is the the owners' input not in this Citizen article? If Olanoff is right in his prediction there won't be any cab companies left in Key West next year, then maybe he will be driving for Uber, Lyft? Using his own private car? For a fact, I was a the city commission meeting where the mayor and commissioners told the many cab drivers there that night that it is on them and their cab company owners to bring Key West cabs into the 21st Century, and to police/clean up cab drivers causing taxi customers to complain. The five cab companies serving Key West went on about business as usual until Tallahassee made Uber, Lyft, etc. legal statewide and the city no longer could protect the determined to remain dinosaurs cab companies.
“Please go down (to Old Town) and have a look at the circus it’s become,” Mott told the board. “Many people have never seen traffic like this in Key West on the roads, it’s bad.”

I imagine that should be easy for the city manager and the police chief to verify personally, or by sending their own people there to verify. I'm on and near Duval Street and in Old Town at all hours of the day time, and I don't see more traffic congestion jumping out at me than before Uber arrived, again. But then, I'm not on and near Duval Street at night very much. Perhaps that's when the new congestion is occurring?
Uber Public Affairs official Javi Correoso disputed the claims, saying his company has received largely positive feedback since the July 1 launch.
“I really can’t respond to specific absurd accusations that the cab industry makes,” Correoso said. “We haven’t received those complaints, it’s been the total opposite. We’ve had a lot of riders and drivers that are very excited that we’re operating in the Florida Keys.”
The “vast majority” of Key West drivers are Monroe County residents but state law stipulates drivers can operate anywhere in Florida, Correoso said.
“State law allows driver partners to drive in any part of the state they choose. These driver partners are independent contractors and not Uber employees,” he said. “So while the vast majority of partners who have driven in the market are from the Keys, it is quite possible that there are a few partners from other parts of the state who may have driven on the platform in Key West.”

The city manager told me last year that when Uber sneaked into Key West the first time, 2016?, there were quite a few Uber drivers from the Miami area driving down to Key West to work the city on weekends and during special events, and sleeping in their cars, presumably, as it was not likely they were paying sky-high Key West motel and hotel rates. The main thing I lobbied against before the city commission and on my website was that only people living in Key West and the lower Keys, with actual proof of residency, should be allowed to "farm" Key West for Uber, Lyft, etc.  Alas, in its infinite wisdom Tallahassee passed a law that kinda reminds me of reverse NAFTA. Outsourcing Uber, Lyft, etc. pirates from the mainland into Key West.
When it comes to breaking traffic laws and sleeping in cars, Uber encourages strict enforcement, he said.
“If there are individuals who are loitering and breaking local laws, then the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the local authorities have every right to cite them,” Correoso said.
The Key West Police Department has not received any calls or issued any citations to anyone sleeping in their cars, according to Public Information Officer Alyson Crean.
The police need to do a better job investigating the allegations, Mott said.
“I don’t know why but it seems like the police are kind of just ignoring what’s going on,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s purposefully or not, I’m not going to insinuate anything.”

Gosh, I'd think Key West cab drivers would be filing oceans of complaints with KWPD, if it is what Olanoff and Mott say it is. I seriously doubt Javi Correoso has a clue what is going on in Key West, other than Uber suddenly has a lot of drivers here.
If community members encounter sleeping in cars, they are encouraged to call the police non-emergency line at 305-809-1000, according to City Manager Jim Scholl.

Even if it's a mother with a child, because the mother no longer can afford rent in Key West? What if the mother is a Uber driver trying to earn enough money to get back into an "affordable" rental unit in Key West?
sunger@keysnews.com

What Key West seems to have down pat is compartmentalizing. Kinda reminds me of how the lady suing me in Birmingham goes about life. Nothing is connected to anything else. There is no linkage. There are no dots to connect. No karma. 
sloanbashinsky@outlook.com