For-hire drivers file class action lawsuit against Uber, Lyft

Attorney: Uber, Lyft passengers are putting their lives in danger

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A class action lawsuit has been filed against the ride sharing apps Uber and Lyft by a cross section of for-hire drivers who work in Miami-Dade County.

An attorney representing limousine, taxi shuttle and tour bus drivers, and their customers claims that when people hop in the backseat of an Uber or Lyft car, they're putting their lives in danger.

"We are entitled to get into a car and be safe," said attorney Ralph Patino.

At a news conference Tuesday morning, Patino said his clients -- the traditional drivers for-hire -- can't compete with the ride-sharing apps because they have county licensing, insurance and inspection costs that Uber and Lyft drivers do not.

"What happens in a situation where there's an accident and that individual is sitting in the front seat? What recourse do they have?" Patino said.

Uber and Lyft provide an umbrella insurance policy covering its passengers, but Patino said it's much less coverage than the county requires his clients to carry.

Cab driver Robert Puente, who is part of the lawsuit, told Local 10 that he put two kids through college driving a taxi but said the ride-sharing apps have taken a big bite out of his income.

"Uber suddenly shows up and destroys my life," Puente said.

The lawsuit asks a federal judge to prohibit Uber and Lyft drivers from providing service in Miami-Dade County and seeks an unspecified amount of damages.

Uber driver Carlos Vega told Local 10 News that he makes $650 week. He said he thinks his competitors should focus on improving their service instead of taking his company to court.

"You have to compete, adapt to the technology. Do the same and compete," Vega said.

Follow Roger Lohse on Twitter @RogerLohse

Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10