No one will accuse the Salt Lake City Council of being forward-thinking. At least, I’ve never heard anyone lay out such lofty description of them. Though nice people, I’ve no doubt they are. When ridesharing service, Lyft, started up, shortly followed by Uber, I was quite excited about not just what it meant for me, but for the city as whole. It meant you could live downtown without a car if you didn’t have to travel outside of downtown too often. It meant you could go out with your friends and have a few, or a bunch, and have a safe way home without dealing with the cab companies. “That’ll be like 15 minutes.” Ugh, the number of times I’ve heard that. It also meant competition, which should help everyone step up their customer service and maybe lower prices. I thought our Republican friends loved free markets.
I should mention I don’t hate cab companies. I’ve been charged $20 for a 5-block ride at 11pm as a flat rate sprung on me on drop off. I’ve had a cab driver offer to waive payment if my female friend showed her chest. I do realize a few bad apples don’t represent ’em all, but I have never had an experience like these with ridesharing services. I have a lot of friends who feel the same way. We love the convenience of no cash, the democracy of rating drivers and having ourselves rated as passengers.
This post is for those of you who have gotten used to these companies. They provide part-time work and extra cash for people who’ve been screened and deemed safe along with a much-needed service in a city whose nightlife is growing. Take note of the decision Thursday, November 25th, 7p at City Hall, 451 S. State. The Salt Lake City Council are looking to pass amendments that, according to the rideshare services, would make them unable to turn a profit. No profit and they’ll pack up their pink moustaches, complementary water and breath mints and leave Zion.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports, “Two major sticking points are city-mandated driver background checks and vehicle inspections. The rideshare companies say they already do those things.” This leaves me wondering what the hell the problem is? I agree that passengers and drivers should be safe, but it seems as though these companies have made the effort to get there. Perhaps the city council could learn something from these companies rather than simply dictate to them. Cabs have had a run for quite some time now. Why should progress, the use of technology and a new method of transportation be punished because the status quo has lacked innovation for so long?
The cab companies are also stepping in, represented by Rocky Anderson, and basically stating cabs and ride-sharing should be regulated the same way. Perhaps he is right, but for my dollar I want ridesharing to stay as is.
If you feel the same way and can’t make it to the meeting sign the online petition here. I will also add that I don’t work for nor am compensated in any way by these companies. I just a happy customer. They are convenient and cost-effective for a lot of people who don’t want to own a car or can’t afford one and travel minimally or those who have a car, but like the freedom.