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Uber starts up July 1 in Key West

A screen shot Monday evening shows Uber was still unavailable in Key West, where it has been outlawed.
A screen shot Monday evening shows Uber was still unavailable in Key West, where it has been outlawed.

Uber, one of the nation’s largest ride-hailing companies, will start up again in Key West on July 1, two years after city police arrested a man for driving for the then-outlawed vehicle-for-hire outfit.

State lawmakers did what Key West city commissioners wouldn’t do: Decide on ride-sharing and in the companies’ favor. The new law allowing ride-sharing companies to work freely in Florida takes effect July 1.

An Uber spokesman said the company had chosen July 1 to start in the Southernmost City after a Monday meeting.

Influenced by an angry taxi company contingent, the City Commission punted the ride-sharing question to the state, although several elected leaders, including Mayor Craig Cates, said Key West couldn’t keep out companies like Uber and Lyft forever.

In March, city code compliance sent a cease-and-desist letter to Lyft after it launched briefly in Key West, citing the local law requiring taxi companies to hold specific permits.

On Monday, both Lyft and Uber apps stated they were not available in Key West.

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen

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