Uber car riding service begins operation in West Palm Beach, county says it's operating illegally

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It operates like a cab service but uses regular drivers who use their personal cars.

But the new car sharing service app called Uber is drawing attention from authorities in Palm Beach County. Local consumer affairs directors are concerned that there are no regulations, background checks and do not go through the same protocols as taxi companies the currently operate in the area.

"I was very skeptical in the beginning. I didn't believe it at first. I read some articles. I read online about it first and then I decided to apply," said Rob Jicka, an Uber driver who just started operating in West Palm Beach.

Jicka is a mechanic by day, an Uber drive by night who is just trying to save up money.

But his idea for extra cash could be costly.

Miami-Dade impounded 8 vehicles and issued 63 citations. In Orlando, police handed out tickets to all sorts of Uber driver.
"I don't believe we're doing anything against the law at the moment. I don't believe there are any legal problems at all. No one said anything to me," said Jicka.

Eugene Reavis, the director of Palm Beach County Consumer Affairs, said Uber right now is operating illegally.

"Just having a photo flash on your iphone letting you know who the driver is and what kind of car they're going to show up in isn't enough," said Reavis.

Reavis said cabs in Palm Beach County are regulated for mechanical safety and they keep records of drivers through background checks. He is concerned about safety and fairness to other taxi companies that followed protocol.

A spokesperson for Uber disagreed releasing this statement:

"Uber is a technology company--not a transportation company. We don't hire drivers or own any vehicles, so applying the same regulations as traditional taxi companies simply doesn't make sense."

The county said it has tried to contact Uber, but has not heard back.