ORLANDO, Fla. - Central Florida could soon have a new way of getting around -- it's called Uber and it's already operating in several other large cities across the country.
Uber is similar to a taxi service except it's all done on an app on your smartphone. A pin will show your location and you can move the pin to select where you'd like to be picked up. You also pay for the service with a credit card on the app so you know the cost of your ride before you go.
If you download the app and try to use it in Orlando a message will pop up now saying, "Uber Orlando? Not yet."
It will also show the hashtag, #MoveFLForward, which appears to be the start-up transportation company's social media marketing strategy to bring it to Central Florida. Also on social media, ads are already popping up announcing on Facebook that Uber is taking applications for drivers in Orlando for UberX. It's a service that's compared to taxi cab service, only drivers use their own vehicles.
"It's just a convenient, alternative way to get transportation. It's a little nicer to pull out your phone and say, 'I'm here, come pick me up.' You're not trying to hail a cab or get someone to come get you," said Mitch Greenfield, who is visiting Orlando and has used Uber in Louisville.
The service just launched there a couple weeks ago but local and state government officials are looking into a complaint that it's operating without regulation, which is the same situation being dealt with in Tampa.
Jacksonville is the only place in Florida Uber has been approved to operate. With the way Orlando city ordinances are written to regulate luxury car and taxi cab operations, Uber wouldn't be able to operate here.
Uber is pushing for state legislation to pass its regulation instead of trying to get approval from individual city and county governances.
Also on its app, Uber workers write, 'Antiquated regulations like a minimum fare make Uber in Orlando impossible. We're working to change that. Don't leave Florida on the curb.'
A city spokeswoman told Local 6 Uber has not filed any of the necessary paperwork to operate legally in Orlando. In a response to Local 6's inquiry with Uber about why it's are already advertising to hire drivers in Orlando, a spokesperson said, 'We often test ads to measure the viability of UberX in different markets.'
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