Uber Driver Can't Speak English, Draws a Fine

'I felt discriminated against," says Carmen Hechevarria in Miami
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2017 9:36 AM CDT
A woman gets in an Uber car at LaGuardia Airport in New York.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

(Newser) – An Uber driver is outraged after she received a ticket at Miami International Airport. Her crime: not speaking English. An airport security officer spoke in English to Spanish-speaking Uber driver Carmen Hechevarria as she dropped off passengers Sunday, but received no response, reports the Miami Herald. "She looked at me like she did not understand me," says the officer, who then asked a colleague to translate. "The more he spoke to her, the more he realized she could not speak or understand English." A cellphone video obtained by Telemundo 51 shows an officer issuing a $250 ticket for violation of a Miami-Dade County rule, approved in May 2016, requiring for-hire drivers to "be able to communicate in the English language."

Drivers should know some English in order to "understand basic directions" or in case of an emergency, a rep for the Miami-Dade Department of Transportation tells NBC Miami, though 73% of county residents speak a language other the English at least part of the time. The rep adds some 40 drivers have been ticketed under the rule. But "I felt discriminated against," Hechevarria says in Spanish, claiming she understood some of the officer's remarks. An Uber rep stresses that the county rule requires drivers "to communicate in English. It doesn't say they have to speak English." The rule won't be long in effect. As of July 1, a Florida law prohibiting local governments from regulating ride-hailing companies will be in force. (Read more Uber stories.)

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