Councilor Kim Rafferty, chair of the City Council’s Transportation Committee, is making Uber’s entry into the city near impossible. On Monday night, we thought we had reached an agreement with the Council leadership that they would remove the troubling parts of the proposed ordinance that would prevent us from operating in the Magic City. However, preceding yesterday’s council meeting, our multiple inquiries to the city’s legal department went unanswered, as did our request for an updated copy of the ordinance. We were baffled when we discovered that additional language had been slipped in at the last moment before the Council passed the ordinance, effectively shutting out Uber from Birmingham.

Instead of developing new laws and regulations around this job-creating technology, Councilor Rafferty remains obstinate on jamming us into outdated and burdensome regulations that include minimum wait times and minimum fares. Last week we shared our extensive review of how we don’t fit into the existing code with the entire City Council and showed them that in many cases Uber far exceeds what the city currently requires of taxi, like our insurance coverage that’s 2x taxi’s and more extensive background checks on the drivers.

Councilor Rafferty and her outside consultants (who also represent the taxi industry) have made it abundantly clear that they are looking to establish a “level playing field” in Birmingham. What they fail to recognize is that because of this outdated regulatory structure, Birmingham’s residents have been left with the short end of the stick, clamoring for more reliable transportation options.

It’s truly disappointing that as Birmingham looks to remain competitive among other world class cities vying for events such as the Democratic National Convention, it’s creating such a hostile environment for innovative technologies like Uber. We refuse to be classified as something we’re not, all at the expense of keeping Birmingham residents and visitors from having access to the safest, most reliable rides on the road. Councilor Rafferty might say that her mission is accomplished, but we assure you that this conversation is far from over.

Email, tweet and call your representatives. Tell them #BirminghamNeedsUber to bring innovation, entrepreneurship, and consumer choice to the area!

BIRMINGHAM CITY COUNCIL CONTACT INFORMATION

District First Last Email Phone Twitter
5 Johnathan Austin johnathan.austin@birminghamal.gov (205) 254-2678 @JFAustin
7 James “Jay” Roberson, Jr. james.roberson@birminghamal.gov (205) 254-2464 @JRobersonDist7
1 Lashunda Scales lashunda.scales@birminghamal.gov (205) 254-2349 @ScalesDistrict1
2 Kim Rafferty kim.rafferty@birminghamal.gov (205) 254-2348 @KimSRafferty
3 Valerie Abbott valerie.abbott@birminghamal.gov (205) 254-2355
4 William H. Parker william.parker@birminghamal.gov (205) 254-2464 @NBhamRenewal
6 Sheila Tyson shelia.tyson@birminghamal.gov (205) 254-2358 @SheilaTyson4CC 
8 Steven W. Hoyt steven.hoyt@birminghamal.gov (205) 254-2304 @StevenWayne14
9 Marcus Lundy, Jr. marcus.lundy@birminghamal.gov (205) 254-2302 @CoachLundy

 

We’ll be in touch over the coming weeks on our progress. Be sure to follow @Uber_Bama for the latest updates.

-Team Uber