Driving it Home: City's Campaign Against Uber Exposes Dallas' Deficit of Public Transit Options And Our Reluctance to Competition

Atlantic Cities Uber

 

(Photo: The Atlantic Cities)

Update: Here’s an online form to write to your city council person and tell them to leave Uber alone! http://www.ci.dallas.tx.us/forms/mcc/MCC_Mail_Form.htm

Living in a city has a lot to do with transportation. You want to get from A to B in the most convenient, safest way possible. In NYC, Boston, Chicago, and LA, you have tons of choices, including catching a ride from any of the hundreds of cabs that circulate through these cities.

So, what’s the problem? Well, try hailing a cab in Dallas and your question is answered. It is impossible to find a ride unless you call a cab dispatcher, and with more bars and restaurants popping up in downtown, and greater density in Uptown and the Park Cities, we need a way to find a ride when we are carless or shouldn’t otherwise drive. Public transit increases accessibility and desirability of urban areas, and Dallas just doesn’t have enough of it.

Uber ScreenThat’s why I really like the idea of Uber. In the age of smart phones, we have a serious need for a smart company such as this that connects a person desiring a service with a service provider, especially considering our dearth of public transit options and the lack of cabs in our growing urban core. It fills a gap left between light rail, bus service, and cab companies when it comes to ease of use and accessibility. Also, the guys who run Uber are ridiculously smart, using trip data from their app to discover trends that will help the company adapt and develop strategies. Brilliant stuff. Imagine what they could learn from Dallas …

What does Uber do? The service, which launched in Dallas a year ago, dispatches a car to your location via a smartphone app and GPS coordinates. Obviously, this irritates cab companies, but let’s be serious about one thing — Uber is serving a group of people that weren’t using cabs. And asking City Hall to cut Uber out of the equation, as this story from the Dallas Morning News suggests, is ridiculous.

Cab companies should compete with Uber in the new market the company has created for itself. Likewise, they shouldn’t be able to create a city-sanctioned monopoly in an urban area that already suffers from a severe lack of public transportation options. People obviously want Uber, as well as more accessible transit.

What do you think?

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