PTC board chairman calls emergency meeting to discuss agency's relationship with taxicab and limo firms

The Public Transportation Commission governing board is to hold an emergency meeting next week to look at allegations that the agency collaborated with the taxicab industry


PTC Board Chairman Victor Crist sent a memo to board members Thursday calling for the meeting that could determine the future of PTC Executive Director Kyle Cockream.

It comes after the Tampa Bay Times reported that the PTC used workers from taxicab and limousine firms in stings targeting Uber and Lyft drivers and that Cockream shared emails from the agency’s attorney and lobbyist with a taxicab owner.

In a memo to board members, Crist said the meeting is to discuss recent allegations “attacking the integrity, character and independence of our director, staff and board,” it states.

The Times report led State Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, to request an investigation of the agency by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Uber officials to claim that the PTC is siding with the taxicab industry, which has argued that Uber and Lyft should be subject to the same regulations they follow.

The PTC board is not due to meet until its next regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 9 when it is expected to vote on a 15-month operating agreement that would allow Uber and Lyft to operate legally in Hillsborough County.

The emergency meeting will take place either on Wednesday or Thursday morning depending on the availability of other board members.

Cockream, who earns about $143,000 per years, was appointed as PTC executive director in 2014. He previously served 28 years with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office rising to the rank of captain of the special investigations team.

He was scheduled to step down from the PTC in July but agreed to stay on through the end of the year, in part to help usher the agency through its dispute with Uber and Lyft.

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