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

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Today I joined fellow activists supporting Free Uber in an outreach operation in downtown Portsmouth.

Uber, the popular app-based ride service, has been banned by the Portsmouth city council under pressure from local cab companies. Several Uber drivers have decided to ignore the ordinance. Two of them, Christopher David and Dennis Acton, started the Free Uber campaign to protest the ban.

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I met with David to plan the operation and gather materials. We then met up with other activists involved in the operation, including Mike Vine, Dennis Acton, Neal Connor, and Rights Brigade member Kyle Mohney (including his three children). We were also accompanied by a film crew seeking to document our activism. Once at Market Square, we were joined by a reporter from the Portsmouth Herald, who interviewed several of us while we engaged with the public about our issue. We handed out coupons for a free Uber ride. We talked to a couple ladies who were pro-free market and supported our cause. One of them mentioned she moved from Long Island to get away from the oppressive regulatory environment, and was disappointed to see Portsmouth engage in the same sort of behavior she sought to flee.

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We then split into three teams: Christopher David heading off with one, Kyle Mohney and Mike Vine with another, and myself with Dennis Acton (joined later by Neal Conner).

Our team went around mainly taping flyers to lamp posts. Mostly we used the flyer urging a boycott for the taxi companies that had pushed for the ban, as well as a flyer questioning the logic of banning Uber. After successfully covering several streets, we were joined by Neal Conner, who took over taping flyers to lamp posts, while Dennis and I focused on stapling flyers to telephone poles.

All in all, our presence was very well-received by the public. As it turns out, most of the citizens of Portsmouth are supportive of Uber, and the city council is acting in the best interests of the taxi companies alone. We will keep up the activism as long as it takes to achieve justice.

Kyle Mohney was also in the field. Read his report here.