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The Uber driver who was fined for violating a Miami-Dade County rule requiring those who work for ride sharing services to speak English may not have to pay that fine after all.
NBC 6 has learned that county mayor Carlos Gimenez can waive the $250 penalty toward Carmen Echevarria, who was given a ticket at Miami International Airport.
“I felt discriminated against,” Echevarria told NBC 6’s sister station Telemundo 51. “I asked the (passenger sitting in her car) ‘Can you please help translate what she is saying?’ Then she asked why, if I was an Uber driver, I didn’t speak English.”
The mayor’s office said he’ll likely waive the fine but it won’t happen until he returns from a trip out of the country on Thursday.
A May 2016 memorandum requires drivers be able to “communicate” in English. Last month, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law CS/HB 221, which overrides local laws like the English requirement across the state and also spells out insurance and background check requirements for ride-sharing companies.
“I told her (the passenger) ‘so sorry, a little English’ then she called the inspector who also confronted me and told me in order to be an Uber driver I need it to speak English,” Echevarria said.
Uber spokesman Javi Correoso sent a statement to NBC 6 saying the company is “proud of the diversity of driver partners in the South Florida market.”
Correoso went on to say that until statewide regulations go into effect on July 1, Uber asks all driver partners in the state to follow all applicable local laws and regulations.
Correoso said the memo law for Miami-Dade County is “very vague and difficult to enforce” and the requirement is not listed on their website because drivers are asked to follow all laws and regulations when they sign up.
Miami-Dade Department of Transportation Public Relations Officer Karla Damian issued a statement saying the code doesn’t require the driver to be ‘proficient’ in the English language, but “the driver should have some knowledge of the English language in order to communicate with a passenger in case of an emergency or to receive and understand basic directions from the passenger(s).”