Mitch Perry Report 4.14.14 - Uber enters the Tampa Bay area market

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Well, so much for going through the Legislature. On Friday, Uber, the popular ride-sharing service, began operating in Tampa and St. Petersburg, and for a limited time, offering their service on their own dime.

Since I was not in need of car service this weekend, I didn't take advantage of the offer, but I'd be curious to learn how the UberX experience was for anyone else out there. On the site's Florida blog, we're told that free rides are available in Tampa and St. Pete (up to $50 per ride) for the next couple of weeks, and that "If you don't see an uberX at first, don’t worry! Since Uber is still in testing phase, there may be times when availability is limited. Just refresh your Uber app again after a few minutes to request a ride and you’ll be on your way."

The preemptive move is in direct violation of the Hillsborough County's Public Transportation Commission, where the $50 minimum fare rate had been considered a deal-breaker for the service after it tried to get into the Tampa market during the 2012 RNC.

Meanwhile the uber-hip company was getting some poor reviews at the uber-hip music festival of the year, Coachella, out in suburban Palm Springs this past weekend. There were reports of the company's infamous "price surging" (that's when their rates go up exponentially based on supply and demand) taking place in Indio, Ca. Also that some drivers weren't very familiar with the terrain. Though in the Tampa Bay area it's highly unlikely the service is going to be hit by hundreds, if not perhaps thousands of people asking for their service at one time, as was the case out in Southern California. This drama is not over by any means...

Meanwhile on the Sunday morning talk circuit, Rand Paul was making news again. The Kentucky freshman Senator clearly aspires to be a major player in Washington, and whatever you think of him, he ain't like too many other legislators in Washington these days, as he talks about the inequities of our criminal justice system, NSA surveillance, or bashing on Dick Cheney....

This will be the last week that you'll be able to catch 10 News reporter Preston Rudie's stories on WTSP. The Wisconsin native begins work next week as David Jolly's top press spokesman. 

And It's our opinion that there is a considerable amount of folks in Pinellas County who simply don't know enough about the Greenlight Pinellas measure to tell you for sure how they think about it. One of those undecideds is apparently former St. Pete Mayor Rick Baker.

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