There’s been a great deal of conversation online about the pending arrival of Uber in Birmingham, AL since a post first published on this site back on June 19 suggested they were already laying the necessary groundwork. While the City of Birmingham is saying it’s prepared to welcome one of the world’s largest ride sharing apps to The Magic City, they’ve also said they do want to make sure it operates within the existing law. But what’s the law? First, a video posted to the City Council’s YouTube account on Tuesday afternoon:
Uber had already turned to social media to push back against proposed changes to the taxi ordinance, suggesting via email that it would be “anti-consumer” and creating a hashtag, #BirminghamNeedsUber, to garner and organize support for the service. Throughout the entire period though, there has been little discussion about the actual ordinance changes.
This link will take you to a copy of the working document published as a PDF; the changes are underlined with strikethroughs visible where language has been removed or modified; a “clean” copy has also been made available for you to review. A copy of the revisions made to the transportation ordinance earlier this year has also been uploaded to provide a point of reference and so you can actually see where changes have been made. An initial review of the documents prior to publishing this afternoon suggest they support statements made by councilors and city officials that the majority of the changes made were simply to define the service for purposes of the ordinance.
The changes appear to be similar to changes passed earlier this week in Columbus, OH and ones being considered in New Orleans, LA (though Uber’s biggest issue there seems to involve fare minimums). This morning it was announced a meeting to discuss the proposed changes in the Crescent City originally scheduled to take place July 22 has been rescheduled for next Tuesday, the same day Birmingham’s City Council is scheduled to take the item back up.
Council members have taken to social media in recent days to counter similar efforts by Uber in advance of the vote (as documented on AL.com), including the video shared earlier in this piece (as part of a longer nearly 2 minute piece) and the following tweet sent via Council president Johnathan Austin’s Twitter account earlier today:
The council will control it's own message about issues, including uber, and make sure the public knows the truth. http://t.co/6thDPqXo9O
— Johnathan F. Austin (@jfaustin) July 25, 2014