It’s been a little while since I wrote to my elected representative, but for the proposed “Uber Amendment” sitting in front of the D.C. Council really touched a nerve.  That the City Council would intentionally raise the cost of a popular, valuable service to insulate a complacent special interest group really is infuriating.  Here’s the letter I sent to each City Council member:

Dear Councilmember Brown,

I am writing to urge you to strike the “minimum fare” language from the “Uber Amendment” that is on tomorrow’s city council docket. 

Simply put, the proposed “minimum fare” language is unacceptable.  The amendment is a flagrant and crass attempt to protect a small but established special interest group at the expense of the vast majority of the citizens of this city.  

Make no mistake – this language will make it more expensive and less convenient for residents of the District of Columbia to get around.  Only the D.C. City Council could possibly conclude that statutorily requiring higher prices will result in better and cheaper access to transit options for local residents.  The opposite is undeniably true.  

The minimum fare language sends a clear message that the D.C. City Council stands up to protect complacent, established players from those who aim to provide D.C. residents with better services at cheaper costs.  This city has a poor reputation for crony capitalism and kowtowing to special interests groups.  The City Council’s proposed actions demonstrate that D.C.’s reputation for cronyism is, unfortunately, well deserved.  The extent to which this Council is willing to go to further the interests of a small lobby that does not represent the broader interests of this city is truly disgusting. 

The 600,000+ residents of this city rely on services like Uber to get around; unlike certain members of the City Council, we don’t have the luxury of taxpayer-funded, chauffer-driven SUVs.  It is in our interests that these services be cheap and available.  

As a politically active DC native, I will hold to account any Councilmember who supports language that will artifically inflate the costs of these services at the behest of the taxicab lobby. Let me suggest that it is in your interests to stand in support of progress and innovation, and for better services for your constitutents. 

I am happy to discuss this further with you.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions about the potential impact of this misguided legislation.

Sincerely, 

Joe Vladeck

520 E St. Apt 301

Washington, DC 20002

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