After being slammed by both taxi and limo companies at the last City Council Transportation Committee hearing, Uber is gearing up (literally) for the council's July 22 meeting, promising in an email blast to provide T-shirts and other "swag" for supporters who show up at the council hearing.
The committee will discuss legislation it postponed earlier this month regarding amendments to the city's transportation code that would allow Uber and other alternative, app-based taxi services to operate in New Orleans. A few weeks ago, City Councilmembers Stacy Head, James Gray and Susan Guidry voiced concerns over the proposed changes to the code, most reiterating worries that allowing Uber's premier "Black" service (limos and SUVs) would open the floodgates to the company's ridesharing platform, UberX, which competes directly with city-licensed taxis.
Representatives from the taxi industry were vocal in their opposition to Uber, and limo companies were similarly wary of the business breakdown. (In the Uber Black model, an existing limo or "black car" driver gets 80 percent of a ride, and Uber gets 20 percent. The limo company doesn't get anything.)
In its email, Uber made clear its intention to rally supporters at the July 22 meeting. The email begins with one dramatic sentence: "We need your voice." It included links to pre-composed Tweets advocating for doing away with a proposed minimum fare, which Uber says would hinder its expansion into New Orleans.
Uber operates in dozens of cities worldwide, and has met fierce opposition from taxi companies in many of them.