Uber Rant

At the risk of sounding uncivil, let me rant on just how poor the Uber / TNC decision was.

Uber photo Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 4.30.17 AM_zpsyx2iu1nk.png

  • City staff worked on behalf of Andy Chafoulias (Yellow Cab owner) to delay the Uber vote until after the election. Based on the anger over the outrageous positions of Hruska, Hickey, and Staver, that may have influenced results. Privately staff will acknowledge that the delay was wrong, but will say nothing publicly.
  • For years I have been asking the council to move high profile hearings to another date and time to separate it from other business. For years city administration and the majority of the council have ignored this common sense request. As such we voted on Uber at 4 AM.
  • For all of those who want to preach on civility take a look at how Brittney Wilson was treated at 3:30 AM. She was cut off despite being far more knowledgable on Uber than the majority of the council. For that matter See Hickey’s handling of Kutzky Park information…
  • We delayed to have Uber available to answer questions (this was the 3rd meeting) now we want a 4th. They went to our committee meeting answered every question, stayed till 4 AM only to have Mark Hickey profess that he hasn’t had a chance to get issues addressed.
  • Through no fault of her own Sandra couldn’t make it to 4 AM. Shame on us for making that necessary. Regardless of how she would have voted. Annalissa has stated public support for Uber and will be joining the council soon, so this isn’t a loss but rather a delay.
  • Loaded language of “lowering the bar” was used repeatedly by three people that basically know little or nothing about Uber. For the rest of us the language was laughable at best.
  • It irritates me that an RCVB employee was concerned about issues related to the RCVB CTA program, and participated in the discussion and vote advocating for the RCVB / Brad Jones / Andy Chafoulias anti-Uber position.
  • Representatives from Uber came down to Rochester, stayed with us for 13 hours only to have this happen. I appreciate their voluntary contributions, I apologize to them, and by January 4, 2017 I am committed to doing a 1st reading of a TNC ordinance that is not encumbered by unnecessary obstacles aimed at causing TNCs to fail or be less competitive.
  • As best I can tell everyone that spoke against Uber is directly or indirectly tied to a cab company.
  • If none of this gets you angry try this one: Sandy M. who lost her son to a drunk driver in downtown Rochester drove to Rochester to testify at the council hearing. She hung out until 2 AM before she drove back to Austin. This morning she sent me the note note below apologizing. She is a strong proponent of Uber. Sandy let me say as a council member who is ashamed of both this process and decision, it is I that apologize to you.

My apologies. Michael I’m sorry I left last night before that Uber discussion. At 2 AM I hit a wall and my head was pounding. By 3:30 AM I would have been up for 24 hours. I heard it went until 4 AM and there was a tie on the Uber vote.



  1. The issue isn’t about whether Uber is a good idea or not. Uber works great in a lot of other cities, but in most of those cities the cabs are leased or owner operated. The cabs in this city are not allowed to operate that way. I say create one ordinance level the playing field and let Uber come

    1. I agree that Uber is fantastic, I don’t want cab companies writing a TNC ordinance or TNC companies writing a Taxi ordinance. They are not the exact same, so go fix the Taxi ordinance.

  2. https://www.businessinsider.com/uber-vs-taxi-pricing-by-city-2014-10

    It is wrong that the taxi companies received permission to increase fares under the pretense that they would raise the wages of taxi drivers. In fact, taxis should be owned by the drivers, not a wage job that requires wages + commissions and still not make a living.

    The business model of paying people to sit around waiting for calls based on monopolistic city price setting seems flawed. Having Uber drivers who expect to be on call and who do not expect to be paid unless they are driving makes sense. I could not find the stats, but it is my impression that for a city our size, we have far fewer cabs than cities of similar size have per capita. This makes for long wait times and the expense makes it an issue of income inequality and penalizes the people who can’t afford cars, find the bus useless, and need a drive to grocery store, doctor appointments, or other places like dentists that are not on any transit route.

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