PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The push and pull between ride-sharing companies and taxicabs continues as some say cab drivers are switching gears and heading into a new lane.
In March ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft got the green light to begin service in Bay County. Since then, business for some cab and shuttle services has slowed down.
"They're not making ends meet and they're just about ready to go under," Jim Van Dommelen, owner of Liberty Shuttle said. He says some of his peers have started to turn their wheels in a new direction by working for companies like Uber and Lyft.
"A lot of the people are not able to make ends meet because of the added expenses that we have as as shuttle company or a taxi company. We have insurance, we have commercial insurance, we have liability insurance, we have to pay the airport or the beach for permits. Our cars are inspected," Dommelen explained.
It's been reported to NewsChannel 7 and Local 18 News some taxi drivers have started picking up riders for Uber in their taxicabs.
An Uber spokesperson told us commercial vehicles are not allowed to be used with their ride-sharing service. However, cab drivers can drive for Uber as long as they are registered and driving in their personal vehicles.
"I have considered it and I've looked at the numbers and everything else and if I did that I wouldn't make money because of the expenses," Dommelen said, "or I'd be working for peanuts and I want my drivers to be happy when they pick somebody up."
Uber drivers like Megghan McDougall say they don't mind cab and shuttle drivers merging into their lane.
"As far as the cab drivers wanting to experiment with ride share apps, I think that they're pretty smart for wanting to try us out," McDougall said. "I think if they tried it out they probably will realize in time that they would want to work independently and work for themselves and be able to work when they want."
To work for Uber you must drive a four-door vehicle. The vehicle cannot have any commercial branding and must be a model year 2002 or newer.