UPDATE: Enjoy an update about Uber in Tuscaloosa from Mayor Walt Maddox.
Uber is a technology company service that allows ordinary people to give rides to other people for a fee, it’s basically a ride sharing service. People can use the Uber app to schedule a ride, they are picked up, pay, and rate their driver, that’s it! But there is a major problem brewing in many cities where Uber operates, taxi drivers, who have to pay for licenses, fees, and vehicle maintenance, do not like the cheaper competition, and they are wanting to stop Uber from expanding. Several city governments are also on the taxi drivers side, and in the city of Tuscaloosa, the police there might start arresting anyone using the Uber app, no ticket, but handcuffs instead.
Tuscaloosa and Uber have been trying to agree on a terms of service agreement so Uber can operate in Tuscaloosa and Northport. The city officials are wanting Uber to cease all operations and come to an agreement, then resume. The two sides have been in negotiations, but nothing has come to pass. And on the AL.com article, Uber said they have been met with continued resistance and a my way or the highway attitude from city officials. Uber, welcome to the wonderful and crazy state of Alabama.
Alabama is home to a lot of corruption and backroom deals when it comes to state, county, and local governments. Apparently Uber has not done any backroom money deals with government officials in Tuscaloosa, because that is how small businesses and companies get ahead in Alabama. Want a tax break, bribe a government official. Want more land, bribe a government official. Want to be allowed to be open longer, bribe a government official. Want to sell alcohol on Sunday, you guessed it, bribe a government official, and so on.
In Alabama, it takes money, and lots of it, to reach people in power, Uber did not spend the time to study politics in Alabama, and they are now paying the price by having their users potentially arrested in Tuscaloosa. The bottom line, if it interferes with another money source, it is not welcome in Alabama. And Uber is now beginning to realize that. But, other than the bribes and money issues, Uber is almost like Aereo. And I believe we will soon see a court case between Uber and a local government in the Supreme Court, and judging by the Aereo results, Uber is going to be in trouble.
Uber is basically threatening a way of life, just like the broadcasters against Aereo. So, if the Supreme Court stays the same, I believe Uber is going to be ruled against, and they might have to shut down all together, because they compete and threaten the lives of taxi drivers, all without paying the taxes, fees, and vehicle inspections. Look, I like the technology of Uber, and I think it’s a good app, but more people have gotten greedy and have this my way or the highway attitude. Uber is going to have to spend a lot more money and charge more to their customers if they want to survive, because local governments are going to force them to do that.
Governments in Alabama, and several other places, are going to force Uber to require its drivers to pay the same fees and taxes the taxi drivers pay, if not, then Uber will never grow. I like competition and lower prices, but with today’s political environment, it seems like higher prices and big business rules the day, sorry Uber.