Los Angeles Mayor, Portland Mayor, Uber and Politics

We usually do not like to write about politics, but it is important to consider them when your company is breaking the law. Even if the law is so old that it needs to be changed, breaking the law and engaging in unfair business competition is wrong.

In the mounting controversies against Uber, many governments offices have taken small steps but really failed to address the issue. Several days ago the Mayor of Portland has taken actions and files a lawsuit asking the court to ban Uber from the city unless they follow all the local rules and regulations. The city wants Uber to comply with all the state and local rules before operating in the city.

Here are some possible steps Uber is not taking and/or ignoring:

  • Registering with the Department of Transportation (formality, revenue for the city)

    • Cab safety inspections – making sure the vehicles are safe to be on the road
    • This also requires that each pays a hefty fee to the city’s Department of Transportation
    • Fair meter inspections – making sure the meters are working properly and accurately
    • Insurance Requirements – making sure commercial policy covers the vehicles and passengers
  • Registering Drivers (safety and tax benefits to the city)

    • Licensing procedures – individuals with many citations or little experience should not be driving others around
    • Licensing and renewals – drivers are often checked for past criminal history
    • Random drug tests – drivers for taxi and limos undergo random and regular drug tests for passenger safety
  • Exceeding the city limit of allowable “taxis” on the road

    • This is the main reason taxis in major cities around LA cost $40,000 to $250,000

These regulations have been in place for years and companies along with drivers have been paying thousands of dollars to the various state and local agencies to operate as a Vehicle for Hire. So why is it fair for Uber to come in and break rules when traditional companies still have to?

Because, some Mayors, like the one in Portland, are willing to take actions and protect the safety of consumers as well as providing for a fair business competition among the city’s long time employers and taxpayers. On the other hand, mayors like Eric Garcetti are too “tech friendly” and have reportedly close ties with the companies ignoring the rules and regulations that govern their own cities.

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