Competition to partners: Uber joins forces with Mears

ORLANDO, Fla. — Uber is joining forces with a Florida transportation company in what is expected to be the first-of-its-kind partnership between the ridesharing company and a traditional taxi enterprise.

Uber and Mears Transportation said Monday they are launching their partnership in central Florida.

“It’s been ugly, but through that process I think we both learned to appreciate each other,” said Mears Transportation executive chairman Trey White.

Under the arrangement, users on the Uber app will get a luxury option, UberBlack, that summons either a Mears vehicle or an Uber vehicle for the same price.

The service will use mostly sedans and SUVs from a fleet of about 200 luxury vehicles belonging to Mears.

By the end of the year, the luxury ride service will expand to include taxis and both companies promise riders will not see a price hike.

“Once we have the taxi product on the platform, it will be normal taxi prices as you would get if you were getting one on the street today,” said Uber general manager Kasra Moshkani.

He said vehicles from both sides will have staging areas at the airport. Consumers will just open the app and pick their price point.

“It’s the same experience you’re familiar with on uber,” Moshkani said.

Officials said the partnership allows Uber to grow its fleet in metro Orlando with an established transportation network in the region.

Previously, Mears had battled Uber at City Hall and the Florida Legislature over its inroads into the local transportation industry.

The Associated Press Contributed to this report

Nancy Alvarez

Nancy Alvarez, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team in May 2010 and am currently co-anchor of Eyewitness News This Morning alongside Jamie Holmes.