Free Uber Activism – Portsmouth (10/4/15)

TodayMaterials, my three children and I joined a group of activists who fanned out around downtown Portsmouth with fliers and information in support of Free Uber.

Uber, the popular app-based ride service, has been effectively banned by the Portsmouth city council along with other forms of ride sharing.  Several Uber drivers have openly ignored the ordinance by continuing to operate within the city.  Two of them, Christopher David and Dennis Acton, started the Free Uber campaign to protest the ban.Free Uber Rides

Several of us met at The Praxeum before the event to plan our approach and to organize our fliers/coupons.  Activists including myself (plus my three children), Mike Vine, Dennis Acton, Neal Connor, and Joël Valenzuela then made our way down to Market Square to begin handing out information.  We were also accompanied by a film crew seeking to document our activism and by a reporter from the Portsmouth Herald who interviewed several of us at the start of our outreach.

12038715_10206577493688874_6317686111652287314_oMike Vine and I set out with my children in one direction while two other teams took different paths across town.  My middle and eldest sons participated by handing out free Uber ride coupons to people that we encountered with my middle son quickly picking up the finesse needed to be effective.  Most people that we encountered were supportive and at worst we were merely dismissed by those who were in a hurry to get somewhere.  A few people stopped to talk with us about Uber and one man told us that he almost became an Uber driver himself.  Mike periodically went into restaurants and bars to hand out more coupons where they were warmly received.  The kids also helped us put up fliers along the route with my littlest happy to be the tape-man.

Overall the response from those we encountered was positive and many were baffled by why the city council would restrict Uber.   We will continue to spread awareness until the ban is lifted.  So next time you’re in Portsmouth and need a ride, use Uber!

Joël Valenzuela was also in the field. You can read his report here.