How do you get home at the end of a long night out, get to the airport or take the kids to the aquarium? If it’s in an Uber, not a taxi, then the ridesharing service wants you to speak up.
On Tuesday, Uber asked e-mail subscribers in the state to sign a petition and write to lawmakers eyeing new rules for taxi-like apps. The $50 billion company pulled no punches in the strongly-worded call to action, which includes a draft letter for constituents to declare they reject new ridesharing rules.
“Taxi special interest groups are trying to pass a statewide law to force Uber out of Massachusetts,” a post on Uber’s website reads. “State Representative Mike Moran and Senator Linda Dorcena-Forry have introduced a bill with more than a dozen different provisions that would limit your options and destroy thousands of jobs.”
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A bill the legislators proposed at the State House would increase requirements for insurance, permitting and background checks, among other provisions.
Their proposals, said Uber, “threaten a new transportation industry that is bringing real benefits to Massachusetts – all simply to protect the pocketbooks of a few taxi company owners.”
Taxi drivers in Cambridge on Monday were on strike to protest what they call the apps’ unfair advantage. In Braintree, demonstrators planned to gather outside the city’s town hall Tuesday as local officials consider a citywide ban on ridesharing – officials caused a stir there this year when they announced a cease-and-desist order for the apps, but the ban was never implemented and has since been put on hold. Both Uber supporters and opponents were expected to attend.
Here’s Uber’s call-to-action in full:
Taxi special interest groups are trying to pass a statewide law to force Uber out of Massachusetts. State Representative Mike Moran and Senator Linda Dorcena-Forry have introduced a bill with more than a dozen different provisions that would limit your options and destroy thousands of jobs.
Massachusetts has long been known as a leader in innovation and an early tech adopter when it comes to advances that benefit its cities and people. For nearly four years, Massachusetts residents have increasingly come to rely on Uber’s technology to connect them to safe, affordable rides and greater economic opportunity.
However, entrenched industries that have failed to innovate for decades are attempting to destroy ridesharing in the Commonwealth by pushing a set of proposed regulations that do nothing to address public safety and are specifically designed to drive Uber and other ridesharing companies out of Massachusetts.
Uber has created thousands of jobs, millions of dollars in economic activity, and countless safe, affordable rides. The proposals that Representative Moran and Senator Dorcena-Forry have put forward make no effort to reform a dated and largely broken taxi system.
Instead they threaten a new transportation industry that is bringing real benefits to Massachusetts -- all simply to protect the pocketbooks of a few taxi company owners.
Uber supports smart regulations that protect riders and drivers, increase transportation options, and expand access to economic opportunity. Over 50 jurisdictions, including 23 states across the country, have adopted forward-thinking legislation that does just that.
Tell your legislators to stand for consumer choice — not for protecting rich medallion owners — and to vote NO on all of the proposals in House Docket Number 4050. Sign the petition today to support Uber Massachusetts!
The draft letter is a bit more tame:
[Your personal message]
Dear [Recipient's title] [Recipient's name],
As your constituent and a supporter of Uber in Massachusetts, I’m writing to urge you to reject all the proposals in the Moran-Forry bill, House Docket Number 4050.
I rely on Uber as a transportation option. Thousands of Massachusetts residents are earning a flexible income as drivers on the Uber network, and across the state, people are using Uber as an easier, more reliable way to move around their communities.
Over 50 jurisdictions, including 23 states across the country, have adopted forward-thinking legislation that protects riders and drivers while increasing transportation options and expanding access to economic opportunity.
I respectfully ask that you support innovation and common-sense statewide legislation that protects my choices. Please oppose anything that would limit my options.
[Your first name] [Your last name] from zip code [Zip Code]