The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #01908

Submission Number:
Anthony Lopez
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
To Whom It May Concern: I applied to become an UberDriver after my wife told me about the company back in December 2014. I am a Civilian Contractor working mainly overseas on DoS and DoD contracts, (Department of State and Department of Defense, respectively). Three weeks prior I had just returned from my last contract and would not have another contract until late February or early March 2015. After my wife told me about Uber, I checked out the Uber website and determined that it would not hurt to apply, so I did. Now, I did apply for several reasons but mainly to make some extra cash to pay some bills and the fact that UberDrivers make their own hours -- we can logon and logoff when it is convenient and I do have children and my wife works during the day. The flexibility Uber offers is exceptional and desirable, at least to me. After Uber conducted a criminal background, driving record history, and other documents as required from the state of Florida (or any other state for that matter), of an automobile operator, I was approved to login to the UberPartner app and begin working. I can stay that, as of this writing, 18 February 2015, I have yet to have an UberRider in my vehicle say anything negative about their Uber experience. Now, I have had riders from all over the great Tampa Bay Area and other cities in Florida. I have had riders from all over the United States, Europe, Australia, and the Middle East. I can say that I am adept at communicating with any and all cultures and certainly our American culture. I learned this through my many years in Special Forces, both as an NCO and as a WO, as well as over 7 years of contract work in the Middle East and Latin America. So, I make it my duty to engage each and every rider in a meaningful conversation that usually starts with, "You like Uber?" or "I take it you like Uber?" They say positive things like: 1. "Uber is safer than taxis. 2. "Uber is way more reliable than taxis." 3. "Uber is cheaper than taxis." 4. "Uber cars can be tracked and I really like the fact that I can see when my UberDriver will be arriving at my pick-up location." 5. "UberRiders do not have to worry about carrying cash -- it is all digital and cashless." I can go on and on about all the nice and positive things UberRiders have told me since the 3rd week of December when I started driving for Uber but it will probably fill a book -- I am not sure the number of UberRiders I have driven safely to their dinners, events, parties, homes, but each and everyone one has had a positive experience. I do have to mentioned that I have picked-up many University of Tampa students, both male and female and they are in love with the Uber concept. I especially, like that all the young ladies feel much "SAFER" being in an Uber vehicle than they do in a taxicab. I had two off-duty police officers in my vehicle, while driving for Uber, and being a straightforward, former military guy that I am, I asked them why the Hillsborough County Transportation Department was having a problem with Uber -- and read online that one UberDriver was given a citation for not having the proper taxi license. The two police officers quickly got to the point and basically said this, "It is about politics. The Taxi Unions do not like the fact that Uber and other ridesharing services are cheaper and taking part of their market share." I am not a politician but if I were, I would get my political friends and the support of my constituents and pass a bill (or whatever it is that county governments have to pass to change a law) that would bring antiquated laws into the 21st century. Listen folks: If politicians are really concerned with the SAFETY of the consumer/the average citizen, especially, the young university female students -- all over the country -- they MUST update antiquated laws that seem to prohibit "Free Enterprise" and the use of 21st century technology. Respectfully, Tony Lopez Tampa Bay Area