Five Central Florida cities that cut deals with Uber hoping to boost SunRail ridership have released records revealing how much money they will pay the ride-sharing service, which the company had hoped to keep a “trade secret.”
by Orlando Sentinel’s Ryan Gillespie
January 25, 2017
Cities began receiving invoices this week that tabulated costs through Jan. 17, which just surpasses the halfway point of the yearlong program. To that date, the highest total came from Altamonte Springs, which has paid for $14,863.59 in Uber rides.
Sanford received a bill showing it owed $7,869.99. Additionally, Lake Mary owes $723.38 and Longwood owes $681.17, and Maitland owes $324.65 records show.
In July, the cities began the one-year pilot with Uber to cover 25 percent of Uber fares on rides that start or finish at a SunRail station, and also start or finish within a city’s limits. Cities also cover 20 percent of rides on trips that start and finish within the borders of participating cities.
The information was previously withheld because Uber said it considers most of its data to be “trade secrets,” exempting it from Florida’s broad public records law. The municipalities signed identical contracts, which lists several pieces of information the company considers confidential, including the date of trips, the total fees associated with the pilot and the total number of trips.
Longwood city clerk Michelle Longo released the invoice to the Orlando Sentinel and said despite the contract the city thinks the public should have access to the information.
“While Uber claims this invoice is a confidential trade secret and exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act, it is the City’s position that this invoice is not confidential and exempt and that the public should have access to this invoice reflecting the amount that Uber is seeking payment from the City under the Pilot Project Agreement,” Longo said in an email.
Additionally, the Orlando Sentinel obtained a series of emails between city of Longwood attorney Daniel Langley and Uber senior counsel Aaron Brand, which shed light on how the information came to be released.
On Jan. 15, Longwood received a public records request from a resident curious how much money the city had paid Uber to date. Six days prior, the Sentinel published a story revealing Uber’s secretive contract with the cities. [READ MORE]