Uber CEO’s Letter To DC City Council

Council members,

The high level on UberDC is that our riders in the District, in shocking solidarity in email and social networks have made their voices heard about the value and quality of the Uber transportation alternative. Reliable service that’s prompt and doesn’t discriminate. Convenience that makes getting around DC a breeze without cash changing hands. Coverage that doesn’t leave you stranded late at night. Our driver-partners provide this service because they take pride in their work, and because they believe in making DC a great place to live and to get around in. When the Council fixes Uber’s prices, it stands against these basic benefits going to the average constituent – that for some reason only the rich can get them.

So in addition to quality, we think that doing right by our DC riders means high quality service at the best possible price. We
think that is a noble cause. It is because of this that we do not understand how a price floor that sets our minimum price at 5 times the taxi minimum is helpful. Why would you want to make a great transportation option only accessible to the rich and well-heeled? Why would you so clearly put a special interest ahead of the interests of those who elected you? The district’s residents showed their severe displeasure that their elected officials would consider such an action. The nation’s eyes are watching to see what DC’s elected officials stand for.

And how about the drivers? Uber has created hundreds of driver jobs in the District. Those hundreds of jobs created since our launch last December are on their way to being thousands of jobs. Jobs that the District needs, and jobs that require high performance where drivers do far better because of great prices driven by Uber’s logistics technologies. Why protect one small business owner at the severe expense of another? Our driver-partners talk about the Uber opportunity in terms of their own American dreams. If you want to see for yourself, take an Uber for a spin and ask them. Our regular riders do all the time, and that’s part of where their passion comes from.

What many of you may not realize is that Uber is a tech company with local offices bringing incredibly sophisticated technology to bare. In an era where DC needs tech companies to locate themselves and grow in the city, what kind of message does stifling competition send to the technology community? A technology community armed with 100’s of millions of twitter and Facebook followers who passionately believe in consumer choice and are willing to wage a digital battle to be heard.

So here’s my ask. Take the ‘Minimum Fare’ language out of the amendment. It’s that simple. Doing so shows the tech community in DC that you support innovative, burgeoning technologies in the face of special interests. It shows your constituents that you’ll put people and progress above politics. I’m an idealist, it’s always been a problem of mine and I do apologize in advance. It shows the taxi industry that the Council expects them to step up their game honestly without alternatives being relegated to only wealthy residents of Ward 3. In any case, I urge you to be bold, and do what’s right for your constituents, who really do not understand why Uber can’t help them get the best possible price for a transportation alternative they love.

Thank you for your time on this matter, and I look forward to the outcome of your deliberations.

Travis Kalanick
Uber Technologies – Co-founder, CEO

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