Today is a really big day for Uber. REALLY BIG. One which will keep Uber rolling in the nation’s capital for years to come, with the full support of city officials. Today the DC Council unanimously passed a legislative framework for “digital dispatch” that is pro-innovation, pro-consumer, and pro-driver. It will not only improve transportation in the District, but also serve as an innovative model for city transportation legislation across the country. We’re excited for DC and for the dozens of major cities we think will follow its lead.
Having worked closely with Uber over the past few months, regulatory issues have repeatedly surfaced as the most obvious threat to the survival of the company.
Facing well-entrenched transport authorities, Uber has been unfairly framed as a hostile and borderline illegal service, sometimes even being banned from operating in various markets. Not only is this disappointing, but it also sheds light upon some of the largest challenges facing startups in non-traditional industries.
Nest and Uber, to name only two, have been repeatedly confronted with what ostensibly amounts to corporate and regulatory racketeering. For those of us with a vested interest in innovation and pro-consumer change, it's endlessly disappointing to see such anti-competitive measures come into place.
So, with the introduction of the "digital dispatch" laws in Washington D.C., Uber has established a legal safe haven for itself in the governmental heart of the United States. Of course, due to the influential status of D.C., it's likely such action will prompt a domino effect throughout the remainder of the country's most hostile territories.
Although I missed the press call yesterday evening, I'm told Mr. Kalanick was palpably excited. And I certainly can't blame him. I feel rather the same way too.
Moreover, the introduction of such a forward-thinking piece of legislation instills a great deal of hope for the prosperity of these disruptive startups. Rather than embarrassingly clinging to outdated business models and anti-competitive measures, lawmakers in D.C. have shown themselves to be willing to be responsive to the tide of change in the region.
And, for those of us in the industry, that sets a very exciting level of precedence for the future.