The showdown is coming next week. Newark city government taking on Uber with regulations and fees that will likely drive the entrepreneurial giant that has revolutionized local transportation out of the city limits. Uber is a rideshare program that empowers drivers to use their own cars to serve as a less expensive and app driven service that I call, “the car service for the rest of us.” Background checks, insurance and cashless transactions driven by an app on customer’s mobiles phones all add up to a hugely successful business model that has changed the way many of us get around in cities and the suburbs.
The issue in Newark is that the highly regulated and expensive business of the cab industry is antiquated and not competitive with the fast paced, cutting edge and cheaper Uber rides. So the cabbies are upset. And they should be. The problem is that Mayor Ras Baraka and the city council are listening to one side of the argument and their promised action will shut out Newark from one of the great free market innovations of our time.
They’re not looking at the oppressive regulations and high fees that burden the cab industry as a part of their solution. Instead of potentially offering new rules that will “level the playing field” by helping cabs become more competitive, they are applying those same burdensome regulations and fees on Uber. As a result, Newark residents may soon be denied the safe, affordable, efficient transportation choice available to the rest of the region.
The decision by Mayor Ras Baraka will have a huge negative impact on two groups. First the estimated 2,000 Uber drivers in Newark who will be denied the opportunity to earn income. And second, the tens of thousands of Newark residents who will be excluded from using this effective and very affordable transportation option.
The Mayor is doing an incredible disservice to average working class Newark residents. How often do we hear politicians bemoaning the fact that young black men in the inner cities are in desperate need activities and jobs? How often do we hear about working and middle class New Jerseyans’ struggling to make ends meet in an ever increasing cost state like New Jersey? Here we have a bona fide opportunity for thousands to earn more income and thousands more to save on transportation costs and the Mayor is standing in the way.
If you’re as outraged as I am that the Mayor won’t act to level the playing field by helping make cabs more competitive instead of punishing the one thing that is actually working in Newark, then join me and call him out. Call Mayor Ras Baraka at (973) 733-6400. Let him know it’s time to #FreeUber