Monday, August 26, 2013

Luxury car service UBER is under fire from Dallas City Council

Luxury car service, UBER, launched in Dallas about a year ago and became an instant hit. Download an app to your mobile device and they can use your smartphone’s GPS to track you down, send you the flat rate for getting from Here to There, and dispatch a nearby car-service driver, whose progress you can follow to all the way to the pick-up point. It's a super easy, cash free transaction.

I am a BIG fan of UBER.  I just used the service Saturday night to get from my home in Park Cities to the Dallas Observer's BrewFest, held in Downtown Dallas. It took 6 minutes for a car to reach me from the time I requested it. We were dropped off right at the front gates of the event and didn't have to worry about finding a place to park or drinking and driving. The couple we were with couldn't download the app fast enough.

Fingers of Fury, Robert Wilonsky over at the DMN, is reporting that the Dallas City Council is scheduled to vote on a substantial city code rewrite that will redefine everything from who can dispatch a car to who can drive a limo to the cost of a limousine’s off-the-lot sticker price (has to be more than $45,000). And the city doesn’t want you to be able to order up a limo whenever you want: The rewrite, says the addendum, will “require limousine service to be prearranged at least 30 minutes before the service is provided” and establish “minimum limousine fares.”

This reminds me of the 1990s when Napster first came onto the scene and the whole issue of downloading music started. At the time, I was an account executive at the Dallas Observer (and Wilonsky was their Music Editor) and Wherehouse Music and Blockbuster were two of my biggest accounts. I also handled all of the music labels who would run ads in support of new album sales. I had a front row seat to the chaos that industry endured as they struggled (ultimately in vain) to stop this new technology and ban the downloading of music files.

I can see why the cab industry does not like UBER, but you can't stop progress. Why would anyone take a Yellow Can when you can have a beautiful black town car pick you up? And why would I want to call in and wait 30 minutes when I can use my phone and have someone at my door in 10 minutes? And how can you not love a cash-free, tip-free transaction?!  Le duh!  The cab industry needs to adapt and change - or die.

Not surprisingly, a hastag has emerged on Twitter in support. You can join the voices of outrage by using #DallasNeedsUber.  Dallas users can show their support by contacting your Dallas City Council member by sending them all an email here: http://www.ci.dallas.tx.us/forms/mcc/MCC_Mail_Form.htm

Download the UBER app and save $20 off your first ride when you use the promo code OHSOCYNTHIA!