On Independence Day, Uber announced a roll out of a lower cost service that we call UberX. A less expensive Uber option on an all-hybrid fleet. We're pretty excited about it and think it's a great idea for cities across the country. What some of you probably noticed is that there was no roll out of this service in the District. That is because, only days earlier, the DC City Council informed us that they intended to pass an amendment to the taxi modernization bill that would make it illegal for Uber to lower its prices or to offer a low cost service in any form.
The Council’s intention is to prevent Uber from being a viable alternative to taxis by enacting a price floor to set Uber's minimum fare at today's rates and no less than 5 times a taxi's minimum fare. Consequently they are handicapping a reliable, high quality transportation alternative so that Uber cannot offer a high quality service at the best possible price. It was hard for us to believe that an elected body would choose to keep prices of a transportation service artificially high - but the goal is essentially to protect a taxi industry that has significant experience in influencing local politicians. They want to make sure there is no viable alternative to a taxi in Washington DC, and so on Tuesday (tomorrow!), the DC City Council is going to formalize that principle into law.
For obvious reasons, Uber is seriously concerned about punitive government intervention in a well functioning marketplace. Because of this we felt it was our responsibility to let our riders know about the issues at hand.
Take Action: THE COUNCIL VOTES ON THE UBER AMENDMENT TOMORROW!
If each of us writes or calls our DC Council people, we could make an impact on this law. What are we asking for?
Strike down the MINIMUM FARE language from the Uber Amendment (http://blog.uber.com/2012/07/09/uber-amendment/)
Here are the City Council members' contact info if you'd like to also reach out to them directly. Call/write as many of them as possible!
Phil Mendelson (Chairman), (202) 724-8064, email@example.com
Mary Cheh, Ward 3, (Chairperson of Committee on the Environment, Public Works and Transportation), (202) 724-8062, firstname.lastname@example.org, @marycheh
Michael Brown, at-large, (202) 724-8105, email@example.com,
Jim Graham, Ward 1, (202) 724-8181, firstname.lastname@example.org, @jimgrahamward1
Jack Evans, Ward 2, (202) 724-8058, email@example.com, @jackevansward2
Muriel Bowser, Ward 4, (202) 724-8052, firstname.lastname@example.org, @murielbowser
Kenyan McDuffie, Ward 5, (202) 724-8028, email@example.com, @kenyanmcduffie
Tommy Wells, Ward 6, (202) 724-8072, firstname.lastname@example.org, @tommywells
Yvette Alexander, Ward 7, (202) 724-8068, email@example.com, @cmyma
Marion Barry, Ward 8, (202) 724-8045, firstname.lastname@example.org, @marionbarryjr
David Catania, at-large, (202) 724-7772, email@example.com, @cataniapress
Vincent Orange, at-large, (202) 724-8174, firstname.lastname@example.org, @vincentorangedc
Keep the #UberDCLove alive. See full blog post here: http://blog.uber.com/2012/07/09/strike-down-the-minimum-fare/
Travis Kalanick, Uber Co-Founder and CEO