Council holds contentious debate on allowing Uber in New Orleans

Print
Email
|

wwltv.com

Posted on June 24, 2014 at 6:58 PM

Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

NEW ORLEANS -- Six New Orleans council members listened to opinions Tuesday about whether the taxi service Uber should be allowed to operate in New Orleans.

"We've received numerous emails from folks on both sides of this issue," said Councilman Jason Williams.

Uber is an app that links customers with transportation. It has its supporters.

"I can't say strongly enough how important it is to have something like that in New Orleans," said event producer Gary Solomon, Jr. 

"I have a daughter in New York in school, and I can call Uber for her and have her get home safely," added resident Juliette Laughlin.

But local taxi drivers say Uber will hurt their business.

"You don't need to let Uber get started, because it's a monster, and it will lead to unemployment in our industry," said Monroe Coleman of Coleman Cab Company.

Uber plans to work with area limosine firms, but some of them predicted job losses.

"I can't cheapen my rates to work under someone else to have a driver run around four or five times an hour to make $10 a trip," said Milton Walker of Alert Transportation.

"We think that consumers will benefit from this by having choice, by having a ride that is reliable," said Uber New Orleans General Manager Tom Hayes.

But Uber's local general manager was grilled by Councilwoman Susan Guidry, who worried about a subsidiary called Uber X that uses unregulated vehicles.

"Do you know that on the Uber website, they are taking applications for Uber X drivers in New Orleans?" asked Guidry.

Hayes responded: "So we do that in basically all the cities around the world just to gauge interest."

After listening for nearly four hours, the council's conclusion was they need more information and they want all the sides to keep working on the issue. They want to hold another hearing, so any action was put off at least until late July.

Print
Email
|