Free Uber activism: night shift (10/11/15)


For the first time I hit the streets at night to support Free Uber.

Free Uber is a campaign formed in response to the city of Portsmouth banning Uber within its city limits and threatening to detain all drivers found still operating.

Myself and several other activists had already conducted an operation several hours earlier, covering the city with flyers protesting the ban and urging consumers to boycott the taxi companies who had pushed for the ban.


I met up with Uber driver Christopher David, the head of Free Uber, to strategize and gather materials. We printed out wanted posters of the seven city council members, the mayor and assistant mayor, and the heads of the two taxi companies that had pushed for the ban and vowed to help enforce it. These posters urged citizens to boycott the taxi companies and call their elected officials to pressure them onto overturning the ban.

While David continued giving rides throughout the night, I hit the streets to put up the wanted posters. I thoroughly covered downtown Portsmouth, putting up dozens of posters, and engaged with passersby when possible. Most of them were too drunk and preoccupied with their companions to notice much, but I did engage with a few, pointing out that those faces on the posters were to blame for not being able to secure a ride home.

I overheard several clearly inebriated pedestrians talk about “making it to the car.” If only they would have had an Uber to call, they would have been able to avoid engaging in such risky behavior more easily.