Monday, July 09, 2012

My Open Letter to DC City Council on Uber

DC Council members,

I am current resident of Ward 6 in Washington, DC, but I am writing to all of you today on the eve of what we hope will not be a crushing blow to many here that call DC their homes.

As many of you are aware, Uber is a new service that was recently offered in the DC area to much fanfare among its residents.  For many years we have all been the subject of very poor cab service.  Poor in many ways.  As it relates to other major cites, like NYC and Chicago where residents enjoy much more standard and better cab experiences, DC has been forced to deal with an array of mish-mosh cab services who offer nothing more than poor cabs, poor service, generally a very poor experience.  This is not to mention the cab drivers blatant ability to discriminate where they will deliver a fare and more importantly who they will pick up based solely on looks. I think many of you would agree, its appalling at best.

As DC has grown and begun to flourish in recent years, a new generation of residents have embraced the city with hopes of flourishing along with it.  They have brought with them a new class of creativity, technological savvy, and entrepreneurship.  Many of us welcomed Uber because it encompassed a technological spirit and values that many of our generation seeks to embrace.  It sought to improve the lives of residents by offering a service that enabled us to have a choice and bring much needed competition into a stagnant marketplace.  Competition is a good thing, it lifts the standards and forces sub performing entities to improve or be left behind.  It is capitalism at its best.

From the beginning, the DC government, led by Ron Linton and the Taxicab Commission have sought to enforce antiquated rules/laws in order to keep Uber out of DC and allow the voice of disgruntled taxi drivers to try to eclipse the voice of the consumers.  We did not let it happen.  

However, it seems as though the issue has snuck in and reared its ugly head in the Taxi commission and Mr. Linton is attempting to have a amendment voted on by you tomorrow that would in essence stifle competition in the marketplace and give an unfair advantage to a taxi system that is morally corrupt.

Mayor Gray and many of yourselves have worked hard to make DC a great technology hub and foster entrepreneurship right here in the city.  We have had great companies born out of local partnerships and hard work, LivingSocial and HelloWallet to name but two.  Do not let that work go to waste.  Allow DC to shine as an example of a place where great things can and do happen.  A place that supports technology, innovation, and more importantly a level playing field for all to participate in.  

Some of you were arrested recently while protesting for DC statehood.  If we all are fighting for a state where our votes are heard and counted, then dont let our voices be stifled.  Let us choose our course as you want DC to be able to choose.  Some will choose cabs, some will choose Uber, but at least we will have a choice.

Pleas vote NO on the Uber Amendment

Jimmy Gardner
Ward 6 Resident